Mastic Tree Information: Learn About Mastic Tree Care
The mastic tree (Pistacia lentisca) is a species of tree native to South America. The leaves are used in various ways such as medicine, food, decoration and many other uses. It grows naturally in the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, Peru and Chile. Its name comes from its use as a tea made from the dried leaves and flowers.
There are several varieties of the mastic tree, but they all have similar characteristics. They grow up to 30 feet tall and produce white or pink flowers in clusters. The fruit is round with a thin skin and dark red inside. It contains seeds which contain small brownish-red berries that can be eaten raw or cooked like apples or pears. The plant produces large amounts of seed pods that fall off during heavy rains, so it is best not to disturb them when harvesting the plants.
The mastic tree is considered a sacred tree because it was traditionally used in religious ceremonies. Many cultures believe that eating the seeds will give one luck, good health or even bring wealth. Some tribes believed that drinking the sap would make them strong and courageous, while others thought that chewing the bark would cure toothache. There are some reports claiming that chewing the bark could cause blindness if swallowed whole, though there are no scientific studies proving these claims.
The mastic tree has many different uses. The wood is very hard and resistant to fungus, so it can be used to make tools. The bark can be used for tanning, and the sap was traditionally used as glue and varnish. The leaves are rich in vitamin C, so they were often used to prevent scurvy on long journeys at sea. These days, they have more decorative uses in gardens.
The flowers are also used in medicines, perfumes and desserts. Finally, the berries can be eaten raw or cooked and have a pleasant, spicy taste.
The mastic tree is not native to the United States. However, it is a popular ornamental plant in warm climates. It is easy to grow from seed, and the trees can live for decades if they are looked after properly. They need full sun and prefer dry soil. They are not particularly resistant to cold, so they should be planted somewhere with protection from freezing winds, such as a warm coastal area or similar warmer climate.
The mastic tree has few needs in terms of nutrients, though it grows best in sandy, well-drained soil. It can survive in soil that is nutrient-poor, though extra fertilizer will make it grow healthier and more quickly. It can also be planted in large containers that can be moved indoors in cold periods.
The mastic tree is not poisonous, though it may cause minor irritation if eaten. However, all parts of the mastic tree contain a bitter toxin that can be absorbed through the skin, so it should not be grown or handled carelessly.
The mastic tree is hardy, decorative and has many uses. It is perfect as an ornamental plant in dry, warm areas. It should not be eaten without cooking or prepared for consumption in any way.
Categories: HOME AND GARDEN, HOUSE PLANTS, TREES AND SHRUBS, VEGETABLES AND FRUIT, MEDICINAL PLANTS, PERENNIALS, ORNAMENTAL GROUND COVERS, FOLIAGE / FOLIAGE AROUND FOREGROUND, SHRUBS UNDER 5 FEET TALL, FABACEAE / LEGUMES
Sources & references used in this article:
Salinity differentially affects growth and ecophysiology of two mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus L.) accessions by G Cristiano, S Camposeo, M Fracchiolla, GA Vivaldi… – Forests, 2016 – mdpi.com
Cutting propagation of mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus var. Chia Duham.). by M Isfendiyaroglu – NUCIS Newsletter, 2000 – cabdirect.org
Production potentiality in fruits, biomass, oil, essential oil and medicinal properties of the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) in Kroumirie, NW Tunisia. by Y Saidi, F Hasnaoui, B Hasnaoui – EFI Proceedings, 2009 – cabdirect.org
Effects of ozone on the foliar histology of the mastic plant (Pistacia lentiscus L.) by J Reig-Armiñana, V Calatayud, J Cerveró… – Environmental …, 2004 – Elsevier
A Computer Vision System for the Automatic Classification of Five Varieties of Tree Leaf Images by S Sabzi, R Pourdarbani, JI Arribas – Computers, 2020 – mdpi.com
Morphological characteristics of different mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus L.) accessions in response to salt stress under nursery conditions. by G Cristiano, G Mastro, M Fracchiolla… – Journal of Plant …, 2016 – cabdirect.org
The mastic tree. by M Scortichini – Rivista di Frutticoltura e di Ortofloricoltura, 1987 – cabdirect.org