Ceratonia Silique (Carob Tree)
At the lower altitudes of Troodos prevails the Carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua). The carob tree is a medium-sized tree, which can grow up to 10 meters tall, with mostly sparse vegetation, spherical and strong shoots with a rough bark.
The leaves are composite, alternating, 10-20 cm long. They are reddish brown at a young age and dark green when they mature. They are smooth and leathery and covered in a thick waxy coating that prevents excessive moisture loss in semi-dry climates. Its flowers are small (6-12 mm long), multiple, spirally placed in botryoid inflorescences, on wood aged 2-15 years. They are reddish-red and unpleasant in odor (especially the males). Its fruit consists of the pericarpium (hard, leathery skin) and the mesocarpium (fleshy, sugar-rich), containing 10 – 16 hard seeds, shiny and terracotta in colour. A characteristic of the seeds is that they all have the same weight. It is said that the unit of measure of gold (carats) was named after the keratium, that is, the carob.
In Cyprus, the carob tree has been cultivated since ancient times and was one of the main sources of income for the residents as it was classified as one of the most important export products, which, due to its contribution to the introduction of foreign exchange, was called “black gold” in Cyprus.