Ceratonia siliqua is a beautiful evergreen tree and a fitting winter hero. Flowering through winter, Carob’s provide an important source of winter nectar for bees.
Carob trees can live for over 100 years, grow to 15m and produce a trunk girth of up to 3.5m. The leathery leaves grow in four to five pairs of oval-shaped leaflets; new growth is bronze coloured and mature leaves are dark green on the upper surface and light green to grey underneath. The trees can be male, female or hermaphrodite (both sexes).
The Carob in the Dunstan Reserve food forest is the variety Clifford – a hermaphrodite tree, meaning you can plant just one. Only 5 years old it already stands over 2 meters and produces lots of pods.
Carob pods are used dried and ground, or dried, roasted and ground as a chocolate substitute. The are used widely as an addition to agriculture feed being rich in protein and fibre. Historically dried carob pods were used for teething kids who could gnaw on the slightly sweet pods.
In the garden use carob as either an ornamental feature or wind break. Coming from the Mediterranean it is quite hardy, and you can grow them similarly to olives in a variety of soils and locations.