Ceratonia siliqua L.1753, commonly known as the carob tree, is an evergreen fruit tree belonging to the Caesalpiniaceae family. Due to its characteristics it can have flowers, fruit and leaves on the same plant at the same time, as the fruit ripening period is very long.
In Italy it grows wild in the southern regions, while it is naturalized in Tuscany and northern Italy, where it is rarely found.
'Carat' (a unit of measure for very small quantities of precious materials) is derived from the Greek name for carob (kerátion). Due to their extraordinary and almost constant mass, the seeds of the plant were often used in the past to weigh gold and precious stones.
The carob tree is widely cultivated in Sicily where, harvested in September, the pods are mainly used to produce semi-finished products for the confectionery industry.
Among the monumental plants of Italy are the Carob trees of Contrada Favarotta in Sicily, in the region of Modica. The multi-millennial carob tree of the Caschetto estate stands out among the centuries-old specimens in this area. With its majestic irregular crown 11 metres in diameter, a total height of over 10 metres and a trunk circumference of 18 metres, it is the largest and longest-lived carob tree in the world. The Department of Botanical Sciences of the University of Palermo, in cooperation with the Azienda Regionale Foreste Demaniali, has included this carob tree in the book entitled 'I grandi alberi di Sicilia' [The Big Trees of Sicily].