Prosopis alba (Banana Carob)
Banana Carob Tree, White Carob Tree
The white carob tree is a small or medium-sized tree with feathery foliage that inhabits the drier regions of the Andean foothills in Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile between 800 and 3000 m (3000 and 10000 ft.). The taxonomy of this species is very confusing; forms and varieties are so numerous that some authorities believe them to be different species. The tree has been cultivated for thousands of years. Of the many known variants, the so-called “banana carob” is one of the best. Mature fruits are easily as sweet as a banana. The fruits dry on the tree and are the basis of a sugary flour which is produced by pounding the dry fruits. They are also eaten as a snack. The tree is very fast growing and nearly bullet proof in cultivation. It is best suited for drier climates in USDA zones 9 to 11. Seeds germinate quickly but should be scarified before sowing.