Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Mastic Tree
Pistacia lentiscus

Family: Anacardiaceae (an-a-kard-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Pistacia (piss-TAY-shee-uh) (Info)
Species: lentiscus

4 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Provides winter interest
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Click thumbnail
to view:

By richard01
Thumbnail #1 of Pistacia lentiscus by richard01


3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive mc69 On Mar 13, 2015, mc69 from LONDON
United Kingdom wrote:

I have this tree ...its beautiful, dense and lush.
I have it in a pot by an east facing wall in a south facing garden in London UK, its nestled under a grape vine and under tall bay trees and an olive tree. I have been growing it for 3 years now and am hoping for some flowers this spring and then some berries come autum as I use them in cooking. I don't give it much water, but it does get a shot of nitrogen every now and then and its rather shaded in summer under the vine and trees. so far so good, I love my little mastic tree.

Positive SunWukong On Aug 14, 2014, SunWukong from Mora d'Ebre
Spain wrote:

This plant is native here - it's a very typical Mediterranean bush or small tree. It loves hot, dry conditions and never seems to suffer as a result of drought. Sometimes there are four months in a row in summer here with no rain at all, and daily temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius (95F). Pistacia lentiscus takes this in its stride.

It's not a particularly showy plant, but has attractive evergreen foliage and makes a very good background. It should be hardy down to about -10C (14F), maybe lower.

Highly recommended if you need a tough, very drought-tolerant shrub for a dry, sunny position.

Positive Juttah On Jul 10, 2013, Juttah from Tucson, AZ (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a wonderful, evergreen, extremely low-litter tree which provides DENSE shade. Ours is in a side yard (east/west exposure) and we never water it. Despite that, this little tree is thriving to the point where I have to trim off 2-3 wayward branches every spring.

If you need a nonmessy, densely-shaded tree for a patio or pool, this is it. Plant 2 or 3 to increase the shaded area. It wants to grow low and wide, rather than up, so keep that in mind when selecting your site.

I would avoid specimens that are tightly strapped to a stake every 6 inches (like ours was) unless you don't mind an "interesting" shape later on. Ours kept flopping over in every conceivable direction during that first summer, so we had to prop it up with flexible ties so it could strengthen its very weak trunk.

It eventually did develop a sturdy, freestanding trunk but the tree is bent over in the shape of a "C"! (You can't see it because the foliage is so dense, but if we could do it over we'd pick a smaller specimen that can stand up on its own.)

This tree is rated as slow-growing, but ours is moderate - with no irrigation.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Gilbert, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Napa, California
Las Vegas, Nevada

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