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Pistacia atlantica - Desf.

Common Name Betoum, Mt. Atlas mastic tree, Mount Atlas Mastic
Family Pistaciaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry hillsides, cemeteries, field edges and roadsides from sea level to 1500 metres in Turkey[93].
Range S. Europe to N. Africa.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Pistacia atlantica Betoum, Mt. Atlas mastic tree, Mount Atlas  Mastic

Pistacia atlantica Betoum, Mt. Atlas mastic tree, Mount Atlas  Mastic


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Bloom Color: Green. Main Bloom Time: Mid spring. Form: Oval, Rounded, Spreading or horizontal, Vase.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Pistacia atlantica is a deciduous Tree growing to 20 m (65ft 7in) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). . The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



Woodland Garden Secondary; Sunny Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Oil
Edible Uses: Gum  Oil

Fruit - raw[61, 177]. A turpentine flavour[183]. The fruit is about 8mm long and 6mm wide and contains a single seed[200]. An excellent edible oil is obtained from the seed[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

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.


References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Dye  Gum  Ink  Oil  Resin  Rootstock  Tannin  Wood

Used as a rootstock for P. vera, the pistachio nut[183]. A resin is obtained from the tree[117]. No more details. A gum is obtained from the tree. It is used medicinally[93]. It is possible that the gum and the resin are the same thing[K]. Tannin is obtained from galls that develop on the tree as a result of a fungus. It is used to make an ink and a dye[61]. The leaves contain 22.2% tannin[223]. The wood is useful[46].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Requires a sunny position in a deep well-drained light soil[200]. Succeeds in dry soils. This species is not very cold-hardy in Britain[1], though it can succeed outdoors in the mildest areas of the country. This plant is sometimes grown near P. vera, the pistachio, as a pollinator[183]. Any pruning that needs to be done is best carried out in the spring[238]. Plants are prone to fungal root rots[200]. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features:Not North American native, Naturalizing, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Pre-soak the seed for 16 hours in alkalized water[78], or for 3 - 4 days in warm water[1], and sow late winter in a cold frame or greenhouse[78, 113]. Two months cold stratification may speed up germination, so it might be better to sow the seed in early winter[113]. The germination is variable and can be slow. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on the plants for at least their first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out into their permanent positions in early summer and consider giving some protection from winter cold for their first year or two outdoors[K]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood from juvenile trees, July in a frame[113]. Layering.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

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

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.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Pistacia atlantica cabulica Tree0.0 -  LMNDM102
Pistacia chinensisChinese Pistache, Chinese PistachioTree9.0 6-9 SLMHNDM213
Pistacia chinensis integerrima Tree9.0 -  LMHSNDM213
Pistacia lentiscusMastic Tree - Pistachier LentisqueShrub5.0 8-9 SLMHNDM222
Pistacia terebinthusTerebinth, Cyprus turpentineTree9.0 8-11 SLMNDM222
Pistacia veraPistachio, Pistachio NutTree10.0 7-10 MLMNDM322

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Hassan Maddah Arefi(H.M.Arefi)   Wed Apr 12 2006

Dear Sir/Madam I am working with Pistacia atlantica in its genetics and breeding.So far I have found that combining ability of male and female trees for studied characteristics are different. Production of seedling and trees depends upon the crossing parental plants. Oil production ranging from 19% to 39% of total seed weight and more than 50% in exocarp of the fruits in crossed plants. Today I was searching different sites to find out the methods of pollination of the Pistacia atlantica in large scale and reach to your good and usefull information. It is very nice but very short. Perhaps you want to give a brief and vary information which are also usefull and having style. I hope you you are successful in your work. Thanks Arefi

Yigal Granot   Mon Aug 14 2006

14/8/2006 Dear Sir! There is a mistake in your site about the Pistacia atlantica/ In the genera Pistacia all the galls are made by Aphids and not by fungus Yours Yigal Granot

benhassaini   Sun Jan 6 2008

Bnehassaini Hachemi january 2008 Dear Sir! There is a mistake in your site about the Pistacia atlantica/ In the genera we found Pistacia atlantica in North africa but neither in S.Europe. Best regards

Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Tue Jan 8 2008

According to the Flora Europaea, Pistacia atlantica is found in Greece and the European part of Turkey.

   Mon Jul 28 2008

Dear Ken, You can see many examples of Pistacia Atlantica growing along the shores of both the Agean and western Mediterranean coasts of Turkey. It also grows along the coast of the Marmara Sea and in Ýstanbul.

Volkan Yalazay   Tue Jul 29 2008

Daer all, Pistacia Atlantica ca be found growing along the Agean and Western Mediterranean coasts aswell as along the Marmara coast of Istanbul.

   Tue Sep 16 2008

Dear Sir, Pistacia atlantica is found as well in the island of Cyprus from the ancient times. The oldest tree of Cyprus is an Pistacia atlantica 1500 years old, in the village of Apaisia. Also an ancient city in Cyprus with a temple of Venus was called Tremithounta (Ôñåìéèïýíôá in Greek) from the Greek name of Pistacia atlantica.

ABDOUS ouarda   Sun Oct 19 2008

arcitecteure racinnaire du Pistacia atlantica

eng.Maha owies   Tue Mar 3 2009

Dear Sir/Madam I am working with Pistacia atlantica in Propagation of Pistacia Atlantica by Cutting Using Indol Butryic Acid (IBA)”but my result's are zero I need information which are also usefull and having style. Thanks you.

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