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CERATONIA siliqua

Image of Ceratonia siliqua

Forest & Kim Starr

Family

Fabaceae

Botanical Name

CERATONIA siliqua

Plant Common Name

St. John's Bread

General Description

The carob tree offers deep shade for warm, dry climates. It is native to the eastern Mediterranean where winters are mild and wet and succeeded by a very long, dry season. Adapted to poor, rocky ground that is well drained, it solves a landscaping challenge in the sandy-gravelly soils of desert gardens. This is a medium-sized evergreen tree with dense branching and large, glossy, leathery leaves.

The Carob tree blooms in spring with small flowers that release a pungent scent. They are followed by thick, brown, hand-length pods that are highly nutritious, hence the common name, St. John’s bread. The sweet pods are the source of culinary carob. The roots of carob trees are avid water-seekers and problematic in close quarters with sewer lines, buildings and paving. The tree is often overlooked because of the unpleasant flower scent and the pod litter, but beauty and drought resistance recommend it in dryland gardens. It has proven to be a good park and parking lot tree, and in open space it offers considerable habitat value. Use as a standard shade tree, a multi-trunk accent or massed and trimmed as a hedge or screen.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    9, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tree

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    20'-0' / 6.1m - 0.0m

  • Width

    20'-0' / 6.1m - 0.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Southern Europe

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Chocolate

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Shade Trees, Street Trees

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No