Pistacia lentiscus

Botany: It forms an evergreen bush with greyish-brown bark, which is smooth at first and becomes rough. It has small (2–4 cm) alternate leaves that are divided into even numbers of 4–12 leaflets. The leaves are supported by winged petioles. Spikes of small, densely packed flowers that measure only a few millimetres appear at the…

  • Latin Name:
  • English Name:Mastic tree
  • Chinese Name:
  • Greek Name:Μαστιχόδεντρο
  • Ayurveda: Name:
  • Korean Name:
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Botany:

It forms an evergreen bush with greyish-brown bark, which is smooth at first and becomes rough. It has small (2–4 cm) alternate leaves that are divided into even numbers of 4–12 leaflets. The leaves are supported by winged petioles. Spikes of small, densely packed flowers that measure only a few millimetres appear at the leaf joints. The inconspicuous female flowers are covered in matted woolly down, and turn from red to black. The male flowers remain the same deep red colour as the flower’s stamens. The plant produces small fruit in the form of an inedible drupe, which is not quite round and ends in short, sharp point. The drupes retain their red colour for quite some time before turning black. The fruit are borne in clusters, each containing a single seed. (Geneve & Geneve, 2014)

Geography:

It grows only in warm Mediterranean climate. It is native in Greece and holds a prominent position in the local culture of Chios island in the Aegean were it is grown for the production of the aromatic resin that is exuded by its bark. This is a unique feature of the local variety.(H. Langenheim, 2003)

Chemistry:

Terpenoid Resins of the Pistacia species’ (just like those from Schinus) are not allergenic. The resin is secreted by Endogenous canals in the bark of the plant. (H. Langenheim, 2003)

The resin also contains about 2% essential oil which among other constituents contains:

a-Pinene 58.8–78.6%
b-Myrcene 0.2–12.3%
Linalool 0.1–3.7%
b-Pinene 1.2–3.3%
Verbenone 0–2.9%
Pinocarveol tr–2.1%
b-Caryophyllene 0.2–2.0%
(+)-Limonene 0.4–1.6%
Methyl-o-cresol 0.4–1.2%
Camphoraldehyde II tr-1.1%
Caryophyllene oxide tr-1.1%
Methyleugenol tr-0.1%

(Tisserand & Young, 2013)

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Other Uses:

Mastic has been as a constituent for the manufacture of high-grade varnishes to protect water and oil color paintings. (H. Langenheim, 2003)

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