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Pistacia_lentiscus - L.

Common Name Mastic Tree - Pistachier Lentisque
Family Pistaciaceae
USDA hardiness 8-9
Known Hazards Small risk of diarrhoea in children. Avoid oral intake of essential oil [301].
Habitats Open woods and scrub on dry hillsides[50], usually by the coast[64].
Range Europe - Mediterranean.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Pistacia_lentiscus Mastic Tree - Pistachier Lentisque


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Pistacia_lentiscus Mastic Tree - Pistachier Lentisque
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Summary

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


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Pistacia_lentiscus is an evergreen Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9. It is in leaf all year, in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen in October. 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), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Lentiscus massiliensis, Lentiscus vulgaris, Terebinthus lentiscus.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

A sweet liquorice-flavoured resin, called 'mastic', is obtained from incisions made into the bark of the trunk, but not into the wood[2, 11, 57, 64, 183]. The odour is agreeable and the taste mild and resinous, when chewed it becomes soft and so can easily be masticated[4]. It is chewed to strengthen the gums and as a breath sweetener and also used as a flavouring in puddings, sweets (including 'Turkish delight') cakes etc[2, 183]. It is also the basis of a Greek confectionery called 'masticha' and a liqueur called 'mastiche'[183, 238]. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[2, 89, 105].

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.


Mastic was at one time greatly used in herbal medicine, the resin obtained from the tree (see below for more details) being used[4]. It is little used in modern herbalism though it could be employed as an expectorant for bronchial troubles and coughs and as a treatment for diarrhoea[254]. The resin is analgesic, antitussive, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, odontalgic, sedative and stimulant[4, 46, 218]. It is mixed with other substances and used as a temporary filling for carious teeth[4, 7, 254]. Internally it is used in the treatment of diarrhoea in children[4, 7] and externally it is applied to boils, ulcers, ringworm and muscular stiffness[238, 254].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

The resin 'mastic' is obtained by making incisions in the bark (not the trunk) of the tree from mid summer to the autumn[238]. It can be dried and used as a powder, or distilled for oil and essence[238]. It is used in high grade varnishes, as a fixative in perfumes, tooth pastes, glue (especially for false beards), embalming, a temporary filling for teeth etc[7, 11, 46, 57, 64, 171, 200, 238]. It is used to seal the edges of microscope mounts and is also chewed to preserve the teeth and gums[64]. An oil obtained from the seed is used for lighting, soap making etc[7, 89]. The leaves contain up to 19% tannin, they are often used as an adulterant of sumac, Rhus coriaria[223].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Erosion control, Screen, Specimen. Succeeds in any ordinary garden soil[1, 11], preferring a hot dry position in full sun[166]. Prefers a well-drained to dry sandy or stony alkaline soil[238]. This species is not very hardy in Britain. It normally requires the protection of a south-facing wall[11, 200] but can succeed in a hot dry position in the milder areas of the country[166]. The mastic tree is cultivated in southern Europe for its resin[46]. It is a very variable plant, a form with broad leaves yielding the best resin[64]. It is likely to need long hot and dry summers in order to yield its resin, and so is unlikely to produce it very freely in Britain. Any pruning that needs to be done is best carried out in the spring[238]. Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required. Special Features:Not North American native, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

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

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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 lentiscusMastic Tree - Pistachier LentisqueShrub5.0 8-9 SLMHNDM222

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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Author

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Botanical References

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