San Marcos Growers LogoSan Marcos Growers
New User
Wholesale Login
Enter Password
Home Products Purchase Gardens About Us Resources Contact Us
Nursery Closure
Search Utilities
Plant Database
Search Plant Name
Detail Search Avanced Search Go Button
Search by size, origins,
details, cultural needs
Website Search Search Website GO button
Search for any word
Site Map
Retail Locator
Plant Listings


  for JULY

Natives at San Marcos Growers
Succulents at San Marcos Growers
 Weather Station

Products > Pistacia lentiscus
Pistacia lentiscus - Mastic

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Anacardiaceae (Sumacs, Cashew)
Origin: Mediterranean (Europe)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Green
Bloomtime: Spring
Fragrant Flowers: Yes
Height: 8-12 feet
Width: 10-15 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
Pistacia lentiscus (Mastic) An attractive large evergreen mounding shrub to 8+ feet tall by 10 to 15 feet wide or trained up as small tree to 15 feet tall or more. The aromatic compound leaves are alternately arranged that mature leathery and dark green they are paripinnate, with no terminal leaflet, and have five or six paired leaflets off of a winged central rachis. The very small green flowers are dioecious. Our plants are male with five stamens but females plants produce a small drupe, which is at first red and age to black when ripe. Plant in full sun in most any soil and water infrequently (to not at all) but tolerates fairly regular irrigation as well. It his hardy to around 18 F and tolerant of saline coastal conditions. This is a great large dense shrub or small tree with a nice resinous aroma that tolerates pruning and shaping and can used as a hedge or trained up as a small tree. This plant is a component of the maquis, the equivalent plant community in the Mediterranean region to our native chaparral. It is native to dry and rocky areas from Morocco and Iberian peninsula in the west through southern France and Turkey to Iraq, Iran and Israel in the east and also grows in the Canary Islands. It has been introduced as an ornamental shrub in semiarid areas of Mexico, where it is now naturalized and is becoming more common in the hot inland south western US. The name for the genus comes from the Greek word for the Pistachio nut and the specific epithet is from the Latin word for the Mastic Tree. The word "mastic" derives from the Greek verb mastichein meaning to "to gnash the teeth" and it the origin of the English word masticate. Mastic Gum was used in ancient times to keep the breath sweet and also for medicinal purposes and as a varnish. Our thanks go out to Isabelle Greene who first gave us seed of this amazing plant in the 1980s. Though we did not attempt to propagate until 30 years later, the plant from this seed is an amazing large specimen in our demonstration garden. 

This information about Pistacia lentiscus displayed is based on research conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share any cultural information that would aid others in growing it.