Characteristics of Chinese Pistache Tree (Pistacia chinensis) in the Wild

Pistacia chinensis
The Chinese Pistache is a small to medium-sized tree native to central and western China. This species is commonly grown as a classic street and garden tree in temperate regions around the world for its beautiful fall foliage.

This tree generally grows in hills and mountain forests on rocky soil at an altitude of 100-3,500 m above sea level. They are easy to find in China (except in the north) and Taiwan.

Chinese Pistache is a tree that is popular for its beautiful autumn leaves, it is also drought tolerant and can withstand harsh environments.

In China, the oil from the seeds is used for biodiesel production. The wood is used for furniture production and produces a yellow dye.

 

Characteristics of Chinese Pistache Leaf

Pistacia chinensis Leaf
Source: flickr.com/calando

The leaves are deciduous, the growth is pinnate, 20-25 cm long, and with 10-12 leaflets.

 

Characteristics of Chinese Pistache Flower

Pistacia chinensis Flower
Source: flickr.com/ashitaka-f

The flowers appear in panicles 15-20 cm long at the ends of the branches. The male and female flowers are separate.

 

Characteristics of Chinese Pistache Fruit

Pistacia chinensis Fruit
Source: flickr.com/calando

The fruit is small, red, and turns blue when ripe, contains one seed.

 

Characteristics of Chinese Pistache Tree

Pistacia chinensis Tree
Source: flickr.com/翁明毅

The Chinese Pistache tree can grow to 20 feet tall but is more often found to be less than 12 meters tall. It grows best in full sun and is shade intolerant.

It is the most frost-resistant of the Pistacia species, withstands temperatures down to about -25 °C. Chinese Pistache is widely grown from Orlando to Florida for its impressive autumn leaf color. In the lowland deserts of Arizona, this tree is the only tree whose leaves turn red in fall.

 

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