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(tĕr`əbĭnth) or

turpentine tree,

small deciduous tree (Pistacia terebinthus) of the family Anacardiaceae (sumacsumac
or sumach
, common name for some members of the Anacardiaceae, a family of trees and shrubs native chiefly to the tropics but ranging into north temperate regions and characterized by resinous, often acrid, sap.
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 family), native to the Mediterranean region. It yielded probably the earliest-known form of turpentine, said to have been used in medicine by the ancient Greeks. The yield of the terebinth is now called Chian, Scio, or Cyprian turpentine. The terebinth is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Sapindales, family Anacardiaceae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Pistacia terebinthus), a dioecious deciduous shrub or small tree of the family Anacardiaceae. The plant reaches 5 m in height and has odd-pinnate leaves with three to nine leaflets. The small unisexual flowers have a simple perianth of two to six bracts and are gathered in large panicles. The fruit is a drupe. The terebinth grows in the western Mediterranean Region, in arid light forests and on limestone mountain slopes. The tree is tapped for Chian turpentine, a resin that contains an essential oil closely related to turpentine oil. Turpentine oil itself is obtained from the seeds. Galls caused by aphids on the leaves and branches contain tannins, which are used in tanning leathers.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.