LOCUST-TREE, or CAROB-TREE (Ceratonia siliqua), a member of the tribe Cassieae of the order Leguminosae, the sole species of its genus, and widely diffused spontaneously and by cultivation from Spain to the eastern Mediterranean regions. The name of the genus is derived from the often curved pod (Gr. Kf.pa.Ttov, a little horn). The flowers have no petals and are polygamous or dioecious (male, female and hermaphrodite flowers occur). The seed-pod is compressed, often curved, indehiscent and coriaceous, but with sweet pulpy divisions between the seeds, which, as in other genera of the Cassieae, are albuminous. The pods are eaten by men and animals, and in Sicily a spirit and a syrup are made from them. These husks being often used for swine are called swine's bread, and are probably referred to in the parable of the Prodigal Son. It is also called St John's bread, from a misunderstanding of Matt. iii. 4. The carob-tree was regarded by Sprengel as the tree with which Moses sweetened the bitter waters of Marah (Exod. xv. 25), as the kharrub, according to Avicenna (p. 205), has the property of sweetening salt and bitter waters. Gerard (Herball, p. 1241) cultivated it in 1597, it having been introduced in 1570.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)