Nuts, Pistachio

Pistachio Legends

The pistachio tree is native to Areas of Central Asia, including Present Iran and Afghanistan. Archaeology indicates that pistachio seeds were frequent food as early as 6750 BCE. Pliny the Elder writes in his Natural History which pistacia,”well known among us”, was among those trees unique to Syria, which the seed was introduced to Italy from the Roman Proconsul in Syria, Lucius Vitellius the Elder (in office in 35 CE) and to Hispania in precisely the exact same time by Flaccus Pompeius. The early sixth-century manuscript De observatione ciborum (“On the observance of meals”) by Anthimus suggests that pistacia remained well known in Europe in Late Antiquity. Archaeologists have discovered evidence from excavations in Jarmo in northeastern Iraq for the consumption of Atlantic pistachio. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were said to have comprised pistachio trees during the reign of King Merodach-Baladan about 700 BCE.

The contemporary pistachio P. vera was first cultivated in Bronze Age Central Asia, where the oldest example is from Djarkutan, modern Uzbekistan. It seems in Dioscurides as pistakia πιστάκια, recognizable as P. vera with its contrast to pine nuts.
Portions of this world, such as Australia together with New Mexico and California, in which it was introduced in 1854 as a backyard tree. Agriculture introduced hardier cultivars into California gathered from China, but it wasn’t promoted as a commercial crop until 1929.

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