by Stephen Mifsud
   24 Jun 2024      ()
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Pistacia vera   (Pistacio Tree)

Pistacia vera  (ANACARDIACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date May-2010 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Pistacia vera - datasheet created on May-2010. Retrieved from on 24-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Pistacia veraL.
Published in Sp. Pl. 2: 1025 (1753)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Pistacia narbonnensis L.
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Anacardiaceae Lindl. (The Pistachio Family)
9 species from the Anacardiaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Pistacio Tree

Maltese name(s) :

Siġra tal-Pistacja

Status for Malta :

Persisting Alien. Introduced species for horticulture (flowering plants) or agriculture (herbs or fruiting trees) usually within the last 2 centuries and persist after their original location or site is abandoned. They do not widespread but usually remain as a single tree or a very localised population.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare     Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Macro-Phanerophyte ( high trees usually over 10 m high )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

March – April

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Can be planted in rural areas according to ERA Guidelines

Remarks :

Mentioned as a cultivar tree in old literature (e.g. Dr. John Borg, 1927) but seems that now it has decreased drastically. It was often used to be grafted on rootstock of P. terebinthus since the latter had a better environment adaptibilty than that of P. vera trees in our islands. When such agricultural practice was abandoned, it is thought that such grafted trees have with time reverted back to the mother plant of P. terebinthus - with a rather atypical morphology!

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Cultivated for its edible seeds in S. Europe
Preferred habitat in Malta: Sheltered cultivated areas, gardens and groves. Moat of the trees cultivated and persisting on their own without mediation of man.
Botanical Description: Small deciduous tree or shrub up to 6 m. Leaves imparipinnate; leaflets usually 1-3 (seldom 5) 3-7 cm long, ovate to obovate or oblong, mucronate, coriaceous, puberulent when young; rhachis minutely winged; petioles pubescent. Inflorescence with long branches. Flowers brownish. Drupe 2-3 mm long, obovoid, compressed, apiculate, at first reddish, becoming brown.
Distributional range: S. Europe and perhaps locally naturalized
Native region outside Europe: Temperate Asia

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
Introduced in  Doubtful in France (incl. Monaco and Channel Islands but excluding Corse), Doubtful in Greece, Doubtful in Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Doubtful in Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ab(A) Si(S) Tu(A) [Ab(N) Bl cCy dGa(F) cGr Hs(S) It cLe Li cLS Ma Sa cSi cSy Uk(U)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (3 images)
   Pistacia vera   -   Image Code: PSTVE-0.
   Pistacia vera   -   Image Code: PSTVE-1.
   Pistacia vera   -   Image Code: PSTVE-2.

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