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Nine species in one genus are found from the Mediterranean region to Afghanistan, from eastern Asia to Malaysia and in warm regions of North America. Mabberley (1987) and Brummitt (1992) both consider the family/genus to be a member of the Anacardiaceae.

Pistacia vera L. provides an edible nut, the pistachio nut.

[Summary yet to be added]

Pistacia L.

Nine species are found from the Mediterranean region to Afghanistan, from south-eastern and eastern Asia to Malaysia and in the southern United States, Mexico and Guatemala.

The genus was included in a list of anacardiaceous plants which can cause dermatitis (Blank 1957) but there is no evidence of cross-sensitivity with Toxicodendron.

Pistacia khinjuk Stocks

According to Pammel (1911), this species is irritant.

Pistacia lentiscus L.
Mastic Tree, Lentisk Tree

This small tree provides an oleoresin named gum mastic or mastiche (Trease and Evans 1966). Solutions of mastic in alcohol, ether or chloroform applied on cotton wool have been used as temporary fillings for carious teeth. Compound Mastic Paint (Pigmentum Mastiches Compositum) has been used as a protective covering for wounds and to hold gauze and radium needles in place (Todd 1967).

According to Schwartz et al. (1947) mastic and other natural resins may cause dermatitis. Mastic oil and mastic resinoid are fragrance raw materials derived from mastic (Arctander 1960).

Pistacia terebinthus L.
Turpentine Pistacia

The plant provides Chian or Cyprus turpentine (Terebintha Chia seu Cypria), which resembles coniferous turpentines (see Pinaceae). Schwartz et al. (1947) include Pistacia terebinthus in a list of irritant plants.

Pistacia vera L.

The edible pistachio nut may stain the lips, tongue and skin a red colour.


  • Arctander S (1960) Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. Elizabeth, NJ: S Arctander [doi] [WorldCat] [url]
  • Blank H (1957) Dermatitis from Anacardiaceae. In: Proc. 17th Florida Mango Forum.
  • Brummitt RK (1992) Vascular Plant Families and Genera. Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens [WorldCat]
  • Mabberley DJ (1987) The Plant-Book. A portable dictionary of the higher plants. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Pammel LH (1911) A Manual of Poisonous Plants. Chiefly of North America, with Brief Notes on Economic and Medicinal Plants, and Numerous Illustrations. Cedar Rapids, IA: Torch Press [WorldCat] [url] [url-2]
  • Schwartz L, Tulipan L and Peck SM (1947) Occupational Diseases of the Skin. 2nd edn. London: Henry Kimpton.
  • Todd RG (Ed.) (1967) Martindale. The Extra Pharmacopoeia. 25th edn. London: Pharmaceutical Press [WorldCat]
  • Trease GE, Evans WC (1966) A Textbook of Pharmacognosy, 9th edn. London: Baillière, Tindall and Cassell [WorldCat]

Richard J. Schmidt

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