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Prosopis alba - Griseb.

Common Name White carob tree, Algarrobo blanco
Family Fabaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Arid and semi-arid regions with groundwater, such as drainage channels and along groundwater sinks. A common ruderal weed, coming up singly and in groups along roadsides, around habitations, on refuse dumps and in other disturbed habitats[418 ].
Range S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Peru.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Prosopis alba White carob tree, Algarrobo blanco


Wikimedia.org - Mr. Jorge Vallmitjana
Prosopis alba White carob tree, Algarrobo blanco
Wikimedia.org - PMATAS

 

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Summary

Prosopis alba can reportedly tolerate drought, salt and sand; in fact, it is extremely efficient with regards to water consumption, it produces the most fruits in years of drought and has been successfully introduced in arid terrains.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Prosopis alba is a deciduous Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10. The flowers are pollinated by Bees. The plant is not self-fertile.
It can fix Nitrogen.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Prosopis atacamensis Phil. Prosopis siliquastrum longisiliqua Phil.

Habitats

Edible Uses

Pod - fresh or dried[418 ]. The pod can be eaten as a fresh fruit or conserved in its own sweet fresh juice[418 ]. If the pod is dried then ground into a powder, it gives a flour that can be mixed with a little water and eaten immediately or used for making cakes[317 , 418 ]. The popular drink 'aloja' is prepared with the fresh, sweet tasting pods[317 ]. A gum obtained from the stems has a soft consistency and a sweet flavour. It is used as a candy[303 ]. Staple crop: balanced Carb.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


Leaf extracts have shown antibacterial activity[418 ]. The bark, branches, gum and foliage are antiseptic, antidysenteric and emollient[418 ]. They are used as a treatment against gastritis[418 ]

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Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: The nitrogen fixing properties, rapid growth and deep roots make this a suitable species for erosion control and soil improvement[418 ]. The tree is planted in reclamation schemes for salt-affected soils[317 ]. Windbreak. Other Uses: A gum obtained from the trunk has physical and chemical properties similar to gum arabic (Acacia spp.)[418 ]. The bark is rich in tannins[317 ]. The wood contains 5 - 9% tannins[303 ]. The heartwood is reddish-brown; the sapwood yellowish[303 ]. The wood is fairly dense and difficult to work[303 , 414 ]. It is used for parquet floors, doors and furniture[325 , 414 ]. The wood is excellent for both firewood and charcoal[325 , 414 , 418 ].

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Nitrogen  Agroforestry Services: Windbreak  Fodder: Pod  Management: Coppice  Management: Standard  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Balanced carb

A plant mainly of the dry subtropical zone, extending into the tropics at higher elevations in Bolivia and Peru. (though it is found at elevations as low as 360 metres at latitude 18°S in Bolivia). It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures fall within the range 10 - 20°c, though it can tolerate 7 - 28°c and an absolute maximum of 45°c[418 ]. Mature specimens can tolerate occasional short-lived temperatures down as low as -6°c, though younger plants can be killed at -1°c[418 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 200 - 500mm, tolerating 100 - 700mm[418 ]. Requires a sunny position[418 ]. Succeeds in most soils so long as they are well-drained[418 ]. Tolerates somewhat saline soils[325 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6.5, tolerating 4.5 - 7[418 ]. Established plants are very drought tolerant[418 ]. Under optimal conditions a large tree (40 cm in basal diameter and 7 m in canopy diameter) may produce 40 kg of pods[325 ]. There are some forms of this plant that are thorn-free[414 ]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[755 ].

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - it remains viable for several years in normal storage[325 ]. The seeds are hardcoated and must be scarified in order to germinate. Burning, nicking and immersion in boiling water are some of the methods that can be used. If the seeds are not extracted from the pods before sowing, they will normally require several minutes of boiling to overcome dormancy. Normally the seeds are sown directly in containers. Germination starts after 2 weeks and continues for up to one month. When the plants are 30 - 35cm tall they are ready for planting in the field[325 ]. Direct seeding is also possible[325 ]. Seed need to be inoculated with mesquite rhizobia. Competes well with grasses and shrubs.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Algarrobo blanco, Argentine mesquite, Cupesi, Huancu, Huilca, Ibope, igope, Ogope, Jwa'ayuk, Najnuna, Pohon algoroba putih, Pohon karob putih, Tacu, Thaco, Yana-tacu,Yurakk takko

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Argentina, Asia, Bolivia, Brazil*, Central America, Chile, India, Indonesia, Israel, Morocco, Pakistan, Paraguay*, Peru, SE Asia, Senegal, South America*, Sudan, Uruguay, USA

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Lower Risk/near threatened

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Prosopis africanaPau Carvão. Mesquite. Iron tree22
Prosopis chilensisChilean algarrobo, Chilean mesquite20
Prosopis cinerariaJandi, Ghaf22
Prosopis glandulosaHoneypod mesquite. Glandular mesquite32
Prosopis julifloraMesquite, Honey Mesquite32
Prosopis pallidaAlgaroba22
Prosopis tamarugoTamarugo10

 

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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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