1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pistachio Nut
PISTACHIO NUT, the fruit of Pistacia vera (natural order Anacardiaceae), a small tree which is a native of Syria and generally cultivated in the Mediterranean region. Although a delicious nut and much prized by the Greeks and other Eastern nations, it is not well known in Britain. It is not so large as a hazel nut, but is rather longer and much thinner, and the shell is covered with a somewhat wrinkled skin. The pistachio nut is the species named in Gen. xliii. 11 (Heb. פטו, Ar. boṭm ) as forming part of the present which Joseph's brethren took with them from Canaan, and in Egypt it is still often placed along with sweetmeats and the like in presents of courtesy. The small nut of Pistacia Lentiscus, not larger than a cherry stone, also comes from Smyrna, Constantinople and Greece. P. Lentiscus is the mastic tree, a native of the Mediterranean region, forming a shrub or small tree with evergreen pinnately-compound leaves with a winged stalk. "Mastic" (from masticare, to chew) is an aromatic resinous exudation obtained by making incisions in the bark. It is chiefly produced in Asia Minor and is used by Turks as a chewing gum. It is also used as a varnish for pictures. P. Terebinthus, the Cyprus turpentine tree, a native of southern Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa, yields turpentine from incisions in the trunk. A gall is produced on this tree, which is used in dyeing and tanning.