Carob

CarobCeratonia siliqua, commonly known as the carob tree, St John’s-bread, or locust bean (not to be confused with the African locust bean) is a species of flowering evergreen shrub or tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. It is widely cultivated for its edible pods, and as an ornamental tree in gardens. The ripe, dried pod is often ground to carob powder, which is used to replace cocoa powder. Carob bars, an alternative to chocolate bars, are often available in health-food stores.

The carob tree is native to the Mediterranean region, including Southern Europe, Northern Africa, the larger Mediterranean islands, the Levant and Middle-East of Western Asia into Iran; and the Canary Islands and Macaronesia.

The vegetative propagation of carob is restricted due to its low adventitious rooting potential, which could be improved by using better grafting techniques, such as air layering. Therefore, seeds are still widely used as the propagation medium. The sowing occurs in pot nurseries in early spring and the cooling- and drying-sensitive seedlings are then transplanted to the field in the next year after the last frost. Carob trees enter slowly into production phase. Where in areas with good growing conditions, the cropping starts 3–4 years after budding, the nonbearing period can take up to 8 years in regions with marginal soils. Full bearing of the trees occurs mostly at a tree-age of 20–25 years where the yield stabilizes. (Source: Wikipedia)

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