Pistacia chinensis
Common Name: Chinese pistache 
Type: Tree
Family: Anacardiaceae
Native Range: China to Phillipines
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 30.00 to 35.00 feet
Spread: 20.00 to 30.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Shade Tree, Street Tree
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy
Tolerate: Drought, Air Pollution


Grow in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates light shade, but best in full sun. Tolerates heat, drought and a wide range of soils. Proper pruning in early years is necessary to create a symmetrical tree with good form. Best planted in protected locations in the St. Louis area which is at the northern growing limit for this tree.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pistacia chinensis, commonly called pistachio or Chinese pistache, is native to China, Taiwan and the Philippines. It is a small deciduous tree that typically grows to 30-35’ (less frequently to 60’) tall with an oval rounded crown. Foliage consists of compound, even-pinnate, dark green leaves (to 10” long), each leaf typically having 10-12 lanceolate leaflets (to 4” long). Foliage is aromatic when bruised. Fall color is variable but often appears in quality shades of yellow, orange and red. Trees are dioecious (separate male and female trees), with flowers appearing in April in visible but somewhat inconspicuous green panicles. Pollinized flowers on female trees give rise to red-ripening-to-blue spherical fruits (drupes to 1/4” diameter) that ripen in fall. Drupes are inedible (Pistacia vera produces the edible pistachio nuts). Gray-brown bark peels to reveal salmon inner bark. Plants have naturalized in small areas of California, Texas, Alabama and Georgia.

Genus name comes from the Greek word for the nut pistake, derived from a Persian name.

Specific epithet means of China.


No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to verticillium wilt.


Street tree. Shade tree. Small landscape specimen for patio or garden.