Pistacia atlantica Desf. Anacardiaceae. Mastic Tree.
Mediterranean region. The Moors eat the fruits and bruise them to mix with their dates.
Pistacia lentiscus Linn. Mastic Tree.
Southern Europe, northern Africa and western Asia; introduced into the United States by the Patent Office in 1855 for trial in southern California and the Gulf States. Mastic is the resin obtained from incisions in the bark of this tree and is produced principally in the Island of Scio and in Asiatic Turkey. Mastic is consumed in large quantities by the Turks for chewing to sweeten the breath and to strengthen the gums. The tree is cultivated in Italy and Portugal but is said to produce no resin in these climates. From the kernel of the fruit, an oil may be obtained, which is fine for table use.
Pistacia mexicana H. B. & K.
Mexico. This is a small tree with edible nuts found by Bigelow near the mouth of the Pecos.
Pistacia terebinthus Linn. Cyprus Turpentine. Terebinth.
Southern Europe and Mediterranean region. This is the cultivated form of P. vera, grown in Palestine and Syria. The plant is a large and stout tree of the Mediterranean flora and furnishes Cyprus turpentine. The nuts are shaped like the filbert, long and pointed, the kernel pale, greenish, sweet and more oily than the almond. It is the terebinthus of Theophrastus, and the senawber or snowber of the Arabs. The species was introduced into the United States for trial culture in 1859.
Pistacia vera Linn. Pistacia Nut.
Mediterranean and the Orient. The tree is indigenous to Persia, Bactria and Syria but is cultivated in the Mediterranean regions. Seeds of the nut were distributed from the United States Patent Office in 1854. The fruit is oval, about the size of an olive and contains a kernel, oily and mild to the taste. The nuts are used in ices, creams, conserves and all kinds of confectionery. The nut is eaten raw like almonds and is much esteemed by the Turks, Greeks and Italians. There are several varieties, of which the Aleppo is considered the best for its fruits. In Kabul, pistacia trees are said by Harlan to yield a crop of fruit one year, followed always by a crop of blighted fruit destitute of a kernel the next.