Caesalpinia spinosa, Tara spinosa, Peruvian carob, spiny holdback, 10 -100 seeds
Tara spinosa, commonly known as Tara (Quechua), also known as Peruvian carob or spiny holdback, is a small leguminous tree or thorny shrub native to Peru. T. spinosa is cultivated as a source of tannins . It is also grown as an ornamental plant because of its large colorful flowers and pods.
Tara spinosa is placed in the family Fabaceae, subfamily Caesalpinioideae, and tribe Caesalpinieae.
Tara spinosa typically grows 2–5 m (6.6–16.4 ft) tall; its bark is dark gray with scattered prickles and hairy twigs. Leaves are alternate, evergreen. Inflorescences are 15–20 cm (5.9–7.9 in) long terminal racemes, many flowered and covered in tiny hairs. Flowers are yellow to orange with 6- to 7-mm petals. The fruit is a flat, oblong indehiscent pod, about 6–12 cm (2.4–4.7 in) long and 2.5 cm (0.98 in) wide, containing four to seven round black seeds, which redden when mature.
Distribution and habitat
Tara spinosa is native to Peru and can be found growing throughout northern, western, and southern South America, from Venezuela to Argentina. It has been introduced in drier parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa and has become naturalized in California. T. spinosa grows in the nearly rainless lomas or fog oases of the Peruvian coastal desert.
Generally resistant to most pathogens and pests, it grows at elevations between 0 and 3,000 m (9,800 ft) above sea level, and tolerates dry climates and poor soils, including those high in sand and rocks. To propagate, seeds must be scarified (treated to break physical dormancy), and young plants should be transplanted to the field at 40 cm (16 in) in height; trees begin to produce after 4–5 years. Mature pods are usually harvested by hand and typically sun dried before processing. If well irrigated, trees can continue to produce for another 80 years, though their highest production is between 15 and 65 years of age.