The Tree Story
Turpentine Tree (Self Trust) – Pistacia terebinthus
This is related to the pistachio vera, in fact it is the root stock for these true pistachios. It is in the cashew family and is an anacardiacea. It grows wild and well in the maquis as it has amazingly strong roots. Its flowers are insignificant, but they produce very pretty drupes which can be mistaken for flowers. The trees are unisex and a true native of Greece. References can be found in ancient Mycenaenean texts. Alexander The Great ate the leaves as a strengthening tonic. It is still used as a vegetable in some remote villages. This is the tree sometimes found covered in handwritten prayers and votive blessings, as it is thought that angels hover in its branches. This is a custom very much disapproved of by the Greek Orthodox priesthood, who periodically remove the offending offerings.
Recently it has been discovered that the resin, once used for turpentine before petro-chemicals replaced them, contains a very powerful anti-inflammatory called triterpene.