(Pistacia Lentiscus)
Pistacia Lentiscus


An evergreen shrub or small tree with dark green leathery leaves. Whole plant has strongly acrid resinous smell. Flowers are catkin like, and appear between February and May. The fruit is a red then black pea-sized berry.


Found growing abundantly all over the Island from sea-level to 2,000 ft on sand dunes, dry rocky slopes and hillsides and in lowland pine forests. Common member of maquis community.

Uses and Properties

Mastic, used as a chewing gum for sweetening the breath and preserving the gums since classical times, is the resin of this plant. An oil used for illumination and cookery is produced from the berries in Arab countries, and is also used in making "Masticha", a popular sweetmeat and "Mastiche", a liqueur. In Cyprus, the fruits are used in sausage making and the leaves and stems are burned to smoke meats. The Lentisk is probably the balm of Genesis.