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Plant Site

Bible Plants


Native to the Near East and Southwest Asia, pistachios are widely cultivated in the Middle East so it is not unusual that Jacob would include them as a special treat from Canaan to present to the leader of Egypt (Genesis 37:25). Today the most famous nuts come from Aleppo, Syria and are known in Arabic as "nuts of Aleppo." In Bible days they were no doubt widely cultivated as well.

Poison ivy is in the same family as pistachio as well as mangos and cashews. Like its relatives, the flowers of pistachio are green and inconspicuous. The trees can be quite large and have dark green, compound leaves. Each tree is unisexual so a grove of trees must include some male as well as predominantly female plants. There are two other species of the same genus in the Middle East, Pistacia atlantica, Atlantic terebinth, and P. palaestina, Palestine terebinth. Both are discussed elsewhere. Like these relatives, the fruit of the pistachio is covered with a leathery red covering. This is the reason pistachios are often dyed bright red before being sold.