The ecological status of the carob-tree (Ceratonia siliqua, Leguminosae) in the Mediterranean

L. Ramón-Laca*, D. J. Mabberley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The present distribution of the carob-tree (Ceratonia siliqua L.) throughout the coastal regions of the Mediterranean, the route followed from its possible place of origin in southern Arabia and the Horn of Africa, and the possible circumstances of the tree's domestication are discussed in the light of botanical, archaeological, historical and philological evidence. It is shown that the genus Ceratonia formed part of the wild flora of western Europe in preglacial times, that C. siliqua was present in ancient times in the Middle East and that its spread to the western Mediterranean area took place progressively, possibly beginning in the second millennium BC. From the fact that, except in the case of Greece and southern Italy, most of the names applied to the tree today in European languages are linked to Arabic, it is inferred that today's cultivars were probably selected by Muslims in the Middle Ages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-436
Number of pages6
JournalBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Fossil record
  • Origin of cultivated plants
  • Vernacular names


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