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Chinese Pistache, Pistacia chinensis



Authors as Published

Alex X. Niemiera, Professor, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech (first published February 2012, last reviewed March 2024)


Foliage: About 10 inches long; alternate, pinnately compound leaves; deciduous

Height: About 30 feet Spread: About 30 feet Shape: Oval-round to round

Main Features

Chinese pistache is a medium-size shade tree. It is quite tolerant of full sun, hot, and dry conditions (once established). This species has separate male and female plants (dioecious); female plants (if male trees are present) will produce clusters of reddish pea-size fruit that are somewhat attractive. A major claim to fame is the relatively long-lasting very showy orange- red fall foliage color. Fall foliage color will vary from tree to tree. This species is marginally hardy in zone 6a (winter temperatures less than minus 5 degrees F) but is well suited to the heat of the southern US.

Plant Needs Zone: 6b to 9 Light: Full sun

Moisture: Average to dry

Soil type: Most soils

pH range: Acid to alkaline


Chinese pistache is a medium shade tree suitable for sites that have less than ideal growing conditions.


Young trees tend to have an irregular branch structure that gives trees an irregular appearance, but this trait is not evident when trees mature; pruning young trees to develop a good branch structure will improve the future appearance. Chinese pistache has no major pest problems.

Additional Information

There are very few cultivars in the trade. Chinese pistache is related to the edible pistachio tree species (Pistacio vera).

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Publication Date

March 7, 2024