Native to the Near East and Central Asia but has long been cultivated in the Mediterranean region and more recently in the Southern US. The kernels are green and are prized as much for their ornamental colour as for their flavour. Also sold roasted and salted in their shells. They are more expensive than most other nuts. The pistachio (Pistacia vera L., Anacardiaceae or sometimes Pistaciaceae) is a small tree native to mountainous regions of Iran, Turkmenistan, Turkey and western Afghanistan, that produces an important culinary nut. Pistacia vera often is confused with other species in the genus Pistacia that are also known as pistachio. These species can be distinguished from P. vera by their geographic distributions (in the wild) and their nuts. Their nuts are much smaller, have a strong flavor of turpentine, and have a shell that is not hard.