Localities documented in Tropicos sources
United States (North America)
Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
- Molina Rosito, A. 1975. Enumeración de las plantas de Honduras. Ceiba 19(1): 1–118. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/866
- Hickman, J. C. 1993. Jepson Man.: Higher Pl. Calif. i–xvii, 1–1400. University of California Press, Berkeley. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/40453
- USDA, NRCS. 2007. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge. http://www.tropicos.org/Reference/100004579
Molecular Biology and Genetics
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Pistacia is a genus of flowering plants in the cashew family, Anacardiaceae. It contains ten to twenty species that are native to Africa and Eurasia from the Canary Islands, whole Africa, and southern Europe, warm and semi-desert areas across Asia, and also North America from Mexico to warm and semi-desert United States, like Texas or California.
Pistacia plants are shrubs and small trees growing to 5–15 m tall. The leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, and can be either evergreen or deciduous depending on species. All species are dioecious, but monoecious individuals of Pistacia atlantica have been noted. The genus is estimated to be about 80 million years old.
It is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Anacardiaceae. The plants are dioecious, have male and female trees independently. For a viable population should have copies of both genders. They are species of trees or shrubs, evergreen or deciduous.
Well known species in the genus Pistacia include P. vera, the pistachio, grown for its edible seeds; P. terebinthus, from which terebinth resin, a turpentine, is produced; P. lentiscus, source of the plant resin mastic; and P. chinensis, the Chinese pistache, cultivated as an ornamental tree. The pistacia species are vicarious Anacardiaceae with few species outside the old world, and are mostly more adapted to water shortage and alkaline land.
Many plant species are adapted to desert or summer drought typical of Mediterranean climate and therefore have a high tolerance to saline soil. They grow well in water containing up to 3.000 to 4.000 of soluble salts. are quite resilient in their ecological requirements, and can survive in temperatures ranging from - 10 ° C in winter to 45 ° C in summer. They prefer places oriented toward the sun and well drained soil, but grow well in the bottom of the ravines. These species are very hardy and drought resistance, but species of pistacia genus grow slowly and only begin to bear fruit after about seven or ten years from birth, obtaining its development to the fifteen or twenty years. The fruit ripens in the Mediterranean from August, of course only female trees are having fruit.
Although some species prefer moderate humidity, do not grow well in high humidity conditions. They are susceptible to rot their roots, to molds, fungi and parasites attack if they receive too much water and soil has insufficient drainage. Require an annual period of drought for proper development. Its leaves are intense bright green, leathery, with 3-9 leaflets. The leaves are alternate, leathery, compound, and paripinnate. The flowers are unisexual and apetalous and are grouped in clusters. The flowers range from purple to green. Its fruit is a drupe, generally unpalatable to humans and have the size of a pea and go from red to brown, depending on the degree of maturation. The seeds do not have endosperm. The seeds are eaten and dispersed by birds, for which they are a valuable resource because of the scarcity of food in some important time of year, as the time of breeding, migration or the dry season. The commercial species of pistachio has larger fruits and edible.
Plants emit a bitter, resinous or medicative smell, which in some species is very intense and aromatic. In some species develop "galls" that occur in the leaves and leaflets after the bite of insects. A kind of aphid is specified in the genus Pistacia. Although marred by the presence of galls, are very vigorous and resistant plants that survive in degraded areas where other species have been eliminated. They multiply by seeds, stolons and root shoots. Various species hybridize easily between them and hybrid plants are difficult to identify.
Some tree species (e.g. Pistacia aethiopica, Pistacia atlantica) can exist as small bushes and shrubs due to the extreme of its habitat, to adverse conditions or the excessive consumption by herbivores or livestock that hinder it properly.
Pistacia lentiscus is a very common plant related to Pistacia terebinthus with which it hybridizes contact areas. Pistacia terebinthus is more abundant in the mountains and inland in the Iberian Peninsula and mastic is usually found more frequently in areas where the Mediterranean influence of the sea prevents or moderate frost. There are species with very small areas that cover only one or a group of islands in the Mediterranean. On the east coast of the Mediterranean, Syria, Lebanon and Israel, Pistacia palaestina fills the same ecological niche of these species and also known as turpentine. On the west coast of the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands and the Middle East can be confused with Pistacia atlantica. Different species readily hybridize with each other and are very difficult to distinguish.
Cultivation and uses 
Best known as the pistachio, Pistacia vera is a small tree native to Iran, grown for its edible seeds. The seeds of the other species were also eaten in prehistory, but are too small to have commercial value today. Records of Pistacia from pre-classical archaeological sites, and mentions in pre-classical texts, always refer to one of these other species (often P. terebinthus).
Pistacia terebinthus, a native of Iran and the western Mediterranean countries, is tapped for turpentine. P. palaestina, a similar species, is common in the eastern Mediterranean countries. These trees are both known as terebinth. Because it has the ability to kill certain bacteria, terebinth resin was widely used as a preservative in ancient wine. In the Zagros mountains of Iran, in one of the earliest examples of winemaking, archaeologists discovered terebinth resin deposits from 5400-5000 BC in jars that also contained grape-juice residue.
Pistacia chinensis (Chinese pistache), the most frost-tolerant species in the genus, is grown as an ornamental tree, valued for its bright red autumn leaf colour.
- "Genus: Pistacia L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
- İsfendiyaroğlu, M.; Özekera, E. (2009). "Inflorescence features of a new exceptional monoecious Pistacia atlantica Desf. (Anacardiaceae) population in the Barbaros Plain of İzmir/Turkey" (PDF). International Journal of Plant Production 3: 3.
- Parfitt, Dan E.; Maria L. Badenes (July 1997). "Phylogeny of the genus Pistacia as determined from analysis of the chloroplast genome". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 94 (15): 7987–92. doi:10.1073/pnas.94.15.7987. PMC 21542. PMID 9223300.
- Rod Phillips, Une courte histoire du vin, 2001
- "GRIN Species Records of Pistacia". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
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