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Chinese Pistache Tree

Pistacia chinensis Chinese Pistache Tree
Category Tree
Size 40' x 35'
Flower Color White with variations
Flower Season Spring
Exposure Full Sun
Water Moderate
Growth Rate Slow to Moderate
Hardiness 20°F
Notes: Dioecious: is either female or male


The Chinese Pistache is a wonderful shade tree with vibrant fall color. Native to China and the Philippines, it is dioecious, with separate male and female trees. Chinese Pistache is remarkably tolerant of aridity, heat and alkaline soil. Its dark green foliage and umbrella top provide excellent shade on hot summer days. Here in Southern Arizona, the tree grows to about 40 feet high with a 35 foot spread. Small white, innocuous flowers appear in the spring. On the female tree, berry-shaped fruit appears in clusters, turning a bright red color in winter. The leaves turn a vibrant red to orange color in late fall, making the Chinese Pistache tree a reliable favorite for fall color.


Plant Chinese Pistache in large residential or commercial landscapes where it has room to grow and will receive plenty of sunlight. Deep, fertile soils are best. Avoid sites with shallow or heavy, caliche-rich soils. Water the tree well after planting and every 3 or 4 days for the first three weeks. Drip irrigation is effective for the first two or three years after planting, until established. Mature Chinese Pistache trees should be watered deeply every 14 days in the summer and once a month in the winter. Apply a slow-release fertilizer in the fall and in spring for the first 5 years. With time and proper care, the Chinese Pistache tree will become more beautiful. Its canopy develops slowly and takes four to six years to mature. Prune to shape and remove dead wood in the winter, when it has lost most of its foliage.

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