Pistacia lentiscus Vera(Mastic) is a dioecious evergreen shrub or small tree of the Pistacio genus growing up to 4 m (13 ft) tall which is cultivated for its aromatic resin, mainly on the Greek island of Chios.
This is a shrub or tree dioecious, with separate male and female plants, evergreen from 1 to 5 m (3-15 feet) high, with a strong smell of resin, which grows in the dry and rocky areas in Mediterranean Europe. It resists heavy frosts and grows on all types of soils and can grow well in limestone areas and even salty or saline, this makes it more abundant near the sea. It is also found in woodlands, dehesas (almost deforested pasture areas), kermes oak wood, oaks wood, garrigue, maquis, hills, gorges, canyons and rocky hillsides of the entire Mediterranean area. It is a very typical species that grows in Mediterranean mixed communities of myrtle, Kermes oak, Mediterranean dwarf Palm, buckthorn, sarsaparilla, etc. and serves as protection and food for birds and other fauna in this ecosystem. It is a very hardy pioneer species dispersed by birds and abundant in dry Mediterranean. When older, it develops some large trunks and numerous thicker and longer branches. In appropriate areas, when allowed to grow freely and age, it often becomes a tree of up to 7 m (21 feet). However, logging, grazing and fires often prevent its development.
The leaves are alternate, leathery, and compound paripinnate (no terminal leaflet) with 5 or 6 pairs of deep green leaflets. It presents very small flowers, the male with 5 stamens, the female trifid style. The fruit is a drupe, first red and then black when ripe, about 4 mm in diameter.