- Listed: November 2, 2010 4:16 pm
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Alfarrobas Carob trees 50 > 100 years
This tree grows up to 10 metres (33 ft) tall. The crown is broad and semi-spherical, supported by a thick trunk with brown rough bark and sturdy branches. Leaves are 10 to 20 centimetres (3.9 to 7.9 in) long, alternate, pinnate, and may or may not have a terminal leaflet. It is frost-tolerant.
Most carob trees are dioecious. The trees blossom in autumn (September–October). The flowers are small and numerous, spirally arranged along the inflorescence axis in catkin-like racemes borne on spurs from old wood and even on the trunk (cauliflory); they are pollinated by both wind and insects. Male flowers produce a characteristic odour, resembling semen. The fruit is a pod that can be elongated, compressed, straight or curved, and thickened at the sutures. The pods take a full year to develop and ripen. The ripe pods eventually fall to the ground and are eaten by various mammals, thereby dispersing the seed. Likewise, carob consumed by humans is actually the dried (and sometimes roasted) pod, and not the ‘nuts’ or seeds.