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Edible uses


Seedpods - raw or ground into a powder[1][2][3][4][5]. The seedpods are filled with a saccharine pulp and can be eaten both green or dried[6]. They are very sweet but fibrous[7], the pulp can be used as a chocolate substitute in cakes, drinks etc[7]. It is rich in sugars and protein[7]. The pods contain about 55% sugars, 10% protein[8] and 6% fat[3].

Seed - rich in protein. A flour is made from them which is 60% protein, it is free from sugar and starch and is suitable for baking[9][10]. It can be used as a chocolate substitute[11]. An edible gum is extracted from the seed, a substitute for Gum Tragacanth (see Astragalus species)[9]. A stabilizer and thickening agent[12][7], it is also used as an egg substitute[13][9][12].

The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[13][14][7].

Unknown part


Material uses

A flour made from the seedpods is used in the cosmetic industry to make face-packs[2].

Tannin is obtained from the bark[2].

Wood - hard, lustrous. Highly valued by turners, it is also used for marquetry and walking sticks[2][13][4][8].

Unknown part

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The pulp in the seedpods of carob is very nutritious and, due to its high sugar content, sweet-tasting and mildly laxative[15]. However, the pulp in the pods is also astringent and, used in a decoction, will treat diarrhoea and gently help to cleanse and also relieve irritation within the gut[16][15]. Whilst these appear to be contradictory effects, carob is an example of how the body responds to herbal medicines in different ways, according to how the herb is prepared and according to the specific medical problem[15]. The seedpods are also used in the treatment of coughs[16]. A flour made from the ripe seedpods is demulcent and emollient[2]. It is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[2].

The seed husks are astringent and purgative[16].

The bark is strongly astringent[15]. A decoction is used in the treatment of diarrhoea[15].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Canopy or Secondary canopy

Ecological Functions

Nitrogen fixer


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water prior to sowing. If the seed has not swollen then give it another soaking in warm water until it does swell up. Sow in a greenhouse in April[17]. Germination should take place within 2 months. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual deep pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give them some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Ceratonia siliqua. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Requires a very sunny position in any well-drained moderately fertile soil[17]. Does well in calcareous, gravelly or rocky soils[18][19]. Tolerates salt laden air[18]. Tolerates a pH in the range 6.2 to 8.6. The tree is very drought resistant, thriving even under arid conditions, the roots penetrating deep into the soil to find moisture[20][9][18][17].

This species is not very hardy in Britain but it succeeds outdoors in favoured areas of S. Cornwall[1], tolerating temperatures down to about -5°c when in a suitable position[17]. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. The carob is frequently cultivated in warm temperate zones for its edible seed and seed pods[1]. Mature trees in a suitable environment can yield up to 400 kilos of seedpods annually[9]. There are named varieties with thicker pods[9][7]. Seeds are unlikely to be produced in Britain since the tree is so near (if not beyond) the limits of its cultivation[K]. The seed is very uniform in size and weight, it was the original 'carat' weight of jewellers[1][4].

This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[17].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Ceratonia siliqua. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Ceratonia siliqua.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Ceratonia siliqua
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
  • Unknown part (Chocolate)
  • Unknown part (Coffee)
  • Unknown part (Egg)
  • Unknown part (Gum)
  • Seed (Unknown use)
  • Seedpod (Unknown use)
Material uses
  • Unknown part (Cosmetic)
  • Unknown part (Tannin)
  • Unknown part (Wood)
Medicinal uses
  • Unknown part (Astringent)
  • Unknown part (Demulcent)
  • Unknown part (Emollient)
  • Unknown part (Purgative)
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
  • Strong wind
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
  2. ? Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
  3. ? Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR. Israel Program for Scientific Translation (1968-00-00)
  4. ? Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean. Hogarth Press ISBN 0-7012-0784-1 (1987-00-00)
  5. ? 5.05.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
  6. ? 6.06.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
  7. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  8. ? Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
  9. ? Howes. F. N. Vegetable Gums and Resins. Faber ()
  10. ? 10.010.1 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
  11. ? 11.011.1 Niebuhr. A. D. Herbs of Greece. Herb Society of America. (1970-00-00)
  12. ? Brouk. B. Plants Consumed by Man. Academic Press ISBN 0-12-136450-x (1975-00-00)
  13. ? Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
  14. ? 14.014.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
  15. ? Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
  16. ? Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
  17. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  18. ? Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M. Fruits of the Earth. ()
  19. ? Taylor. J. The Milder Garden. Dent (1990-00-00)
  20. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)