Pistacia - - Semi-mature and mature Pistacia chinensis

02 9652 0300



Pistacia chinensis - Chinese Pistachio





Central Western China

Plant Type:

Deciduous tree


8- 15m x 6 - 8m

Habit/ Form:

Usually singletrunked, young trees are often lop sided, but older trees usually form a shapely medium domed crown.


Alternate, paripinnate, (sometimes imparipinnate) with 10 to 14 lanceolate leaflets with asymmetrical leaf bases, shiny dark green with easily seen white veins, 100mm x 25mm. The leaflets are held in a flat plane (do not droop) Turning crimson, orange or yellow in autumn. DO NOT CONFUSE Pistacia chinensis with Toxicodendron succedaneum. The Rhus Tree, has mostly imparipinnate leaves, with difficult to see veins. The pollen and leaves are highly allergenic, even hospitalising some people. The fruits are brown not coloured.


These trees are dioecious, the flower are not very decorative, produced in mid to late spring.


A drupe, 8 - 9mm x 5 - 7mm, green aging to red then blue / black in drooping clusters, mid to late autumn.

Bark / Trunk:

Pale creamy brown to pale grey with shallow fissures and fat winter buds on the young twigs.

Vigour / Longevity:

Moderately vigorous, vigorous on moist soils, long lived.

Environmental Requirements:

Sunny positions in a cool climate for best autumn foliage colour.


Hardy to - 5°C, moderately drought tolerant in deep soils, tolerant of mildly alkaline soils.

Soil / Drainage:

Prefers moist well drained soils, but is very tolerant, growing well on most soils with reasonable drainage, can even tolerate mildly alkaline soils.


Train to a single leader when young, then let the natural habit develop. Give this tree the best growing conditions when young so it will grow rapidly and establish a strong central trunk.


Keep moist for best growth and autumn colours. Moderately drought tolerant once established but the foliage will be smaller and less colourful.


Apply a complete fertiliser in late winter for spring growth till established.

Pests / Diseases:

Leaf burn occurs in hot dry areas, on saline soils or from fertiliser salt build up in the soil. Iron deficiencies can occur on alkaline soils.


Street tree, shade tree, avenue tree if clonal material is used and autumn colour contrast tree.



© Text reproduced here with the kind permission of Tony Wilson and Barck Books.



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