Monday, January 2, 2012

Guest Blog: Paul Moore and the Mt. Atlas Pistachio

Paul Moore is a musician, traveling minstrel, founder of Ukuleles for Peace, and a lover of trees.

Pistacia atlantica
Paul Moore and a very old Pistacia atlantica (Mt. Atlas mastic)

Paul: I found this today while on a trip to look at stone for my house. This amazing Mount Atlas Pistache tree is next to Kibbutz Yiftah on the Northern Road of Israel. This could be the oldest one in the grove, or one like it, and is approximately 450yrs old. The most strange thing happened as I approached it: a Black cat jump out from the Center of the Tree... A witch's Tree no doubt! I am lucky to Live in a Forest in the Galilee Mountains in Mitzpa Harashim, We take our love of trees very seriously here! I hope to take pictures and tell more tree story's in the Future. The Galilee has an amazing amount of very old trees despite its size and the constant removal of trees over the centuries for fire, carpentry and more recently the railway. The Sacredness of some trees is still very much part of the inhabitants, be they Jew, Christian, Druze, or Muslim.

Danny: This species of pistachio is native from Iran to Turkey, through the Middle East to North Africa. It has many uses: The seeds can be eaten raw or turned into candy, the seeds also provide a useful oil, the plant contains a rubber that is used as a natural chewing gum, its sap is used to make incense and perfume, and the leaves contain chemicals used for tanning leather. The Mt. Atlas tree is dioecious, meaning that there are separate male and female trees.


  1. I received an email pointing out that this amazing tree is not the same species as the one that provides the pistachios that we like to snack on. That tree is much smaller and is called Pistacia vera.

  2. Another message i got (why don't people comment in real time?) - Anivoam Danin also has a site with different plants every day: