Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Ceratonia siliqua L.

Frost-tender, evergreen tree or small shrub with a rounded head, dark green, leathery, pinnate leaves, with up to 10 leaflets, and cylindrical racemes of red and yellow flowers in late summer and autumn.  To 15m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Commonly believed to be the ‘Locust fruit’ of scriptures.  ‘The dry pulp in which the seeds are buried is very nutritious, and is supposed to have been the food of St. John in the wilderness; wherefore it is called the Locust-tree, and St. John’s Bread.’  John Lindley, quoted in Johnson’s Dictionary.  ‘Its sweet pods are often sold in London under the name of Locust fruit.’  [Gard. Chron. 1841].  ‘According to the Kew catalogue [it] has been an inhabitant of our gardens 239 years: but neither Mr. Aiton nor Mr. Miller had ever seen it blossom.’ However, it did flower at the Cambridge Garden ‘at the beginning of last February.’  The Locust fruit were clearly imported from warmer climes.  [ABR pl.567/1809].  Don.  Blackwell pl.209/1737.

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.292/1843].  There are many mature trees in the gardens.


Published Dec 13, 2009 - 03:17 PM | Last updated Jul 18, 2010 - 04:59 PM

Figured are the pinnate leaves, pod and details of flowers and seeds.  Blackwell pl.209, 1737.

Ceratonia siliqua L. | Blackwell pl.209/1737 | BHL

Family Fabaceae
Region of origin

Southern Europe

Common Name

Carob, St. John?s bread, Locust, Algaroba

Name in the Camden Park Record

Ceratonia siliqua - Carob, St. John’s Bread, Locust etc.

Confidence level high