- Latin name:
- Syria and Asia Minor.
The genus Ceratonia, or Carob tree (Ceratonia), consists of a single evergreen species - Ceratonia siliqua (Ceratonia siliqua), usually growing up to 10 m and even 15 m in height. The squat trunk can be curved, the uneven bark is brownish-gray. Branches are located at an angle, sometimes they are inclined, twisted. Complex two-pinnate leaves consist of 2-5 pairs of ovate leaflets, dark green on the upper side and lighter on the lower. Flowers are nondescript yellowish unisexual, collected in a brush. Only male or only female flowers are formed on the plant, but there are specimens and with hermaphrodite flowers. They bloom from May to November. Carob beans are non-opening, their juicy sweet pulp is used for food. They ripen a year after flowering, they are collected late in the summer (in August-September), when the beans themselves begin to fall off the plant. Roasted seeds are used as a substitute for coffee.
Carob is grown in the open ground both as an ornamental crop and for the production of beans. This is a plant with a very long -life span and slow growth. It is only occasionally grown in pots, primarily in moderately cold climates, and must be kept indoors for the winter.
To have fruits, it is necessary to grow, along with female specimens, at least one male. It is better to buy plants in containers or at least with a lump of earth, because seedlings with a bare root cannot withstand transplanting.
Ceratonia is planted in a permanent place in the ground in the spring, on a plot with a slope. A loose, well-drained, and lightly fertilized, stony or calcareous soil is desirable. Plants respond well to the application of manure at the rate of 5-7 kg /m2, as well as mineral fertilizers, such as superphosphate, at the rate of 20-30 g/m2. Potting soil is made up of fertile land and peat, and 200-300 g of organic fertilizer is added to a bucket of soil.
Carob trees are usually grown in the form of a vase, which is formed by forming pruning, but it can also be grown while maintaining the natural shape of the crown. No pruning is required to increase the yield, it is enough to remove dry, damaged or unsightly branches.
Extremely resistant to drought, so watering is required only for young seedlings (immediately after planting completely in the ground) and potted plants.
Transplanted in the spring once every 2-3 years, depending on the degree of development of the plant.
The most common method of propagation is sowing seeds in autumn or spring in pots or directly to a permanent place of planting in the ground. In the spring of next year, to obtain the desired variety, an eye graft is performed.
Planted in a sunny place. In nature, it grows on rocky slopes.
These plants are suitable for a mild climate, they do not tolerate temperatures below 0 °C.
Diseases and pests
It is necessary to make sure that there are no beetles that gnaw holes in the wood of trunks and branches, and worms that affect leaves and young branches. Pests are eliminated with appropriate insecticides. Fungi can cause cancer caused by Botryosphaeria ribis. Other fungi, such as representatives of the genus Verticillium, affect the vascular system through which nutrients pass. Root rot is associated with honey fungus (Armillaria mellea) and fungi of the genus Phytophthora. Cancer is eliminated by removing the affected parts of the plant and processing appropriate fungicides. The appearance of infection is easier to prevent by placing seedlings in healthy soil.
Carob trees can be found in horticultural centers and specialized nurseries, but only in areas of mild climate.
Using beans and something curious
The fruits (beans) of the carob tree, when ripe, become black, flat and soft, up to 25 cm long. The beans contain hard black seeds inside. Carob beans are rich in carbohydrates (50% dry weight) and are a good food item. They are used in the food industry, in particular in the confectionery and liquor industry, as well as in the production of livestock feed. The seeds contain gums, which are used as a stabilizer in the food industry and in the production of paper. Curiously, carob seeds have an approximately constant mass, about 200 mg, and in the old days they were used as a unit of weight (carat) for weighing precious stones and metals in jewelry. In Arabic, they are called quirat, hence the Russian word karat.
|Watering||necessary for young and potted plants|
|Transplanting||in spring once every 2-3 years|
|Appearance maintenance||not required|
|Location||in the open sun|
|Temperature||minimum 0 °C|
|Flowering time||may to november|
|Height||up to 10-15 m|
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