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St. Johns bread
Other names: Carob, Locust bean
Characteristics: Tree to 10 m
Seeds per packets: 5
The flesh of the seed pod can be ground after drying and used as a substitute for cocoa (Chocolate) or the fruit can be eaten fresh from the tree.
Well known to the ancient Greeks, who planted seeds of this plant in Greece and Italy.
There are references to carob in the Bible, also called St. John's bread or locust bean because the pods were once thought to have been the locusts that were eaten by John the Baptist in the Wilderness.
Spaniards carried carob to Mexico and South America, and the British took carob to South Africa, India, and Australia.
Can be pruned to maintain height and shape or grown as a hedging plant.
Native to Syria where it has been in cultivation for at least 4000 years.
Prefers a well-drained soil in an open sunny position, drought and frost tender.
Although seed can be sown most of the year in Australia seed is generally best sown in spring or autumn, avoid the coldest and hottest months of the year. The optimum germination temperature for germination is around 18-22°C.
Seeds germinate readily, however they do have a hard outer coating which is impervious to water and generally germination will normally not occur unless the seed is scarified by abrading or pre-treated with boiling water first.
General note: Seeds of many species are dormant and require specific conditions or pre-treatment for germination.
Do not be too hasty to discard seed that does not germinate, seeds will often lay dormant until the conditions are similar to their natural requirements for germination to occur. Containers put to one side will often surprise long after they were discarded.