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Chinese PistachePistacia chinensis

  • Northern Red Oak - Quercus rubra
  • Chinese Pistache
  • Chinese Pistache
  • Chinese Pistache
  • Chinese Pistache
Known as the “Ugly Duckling” of the tree world, the Chinese pistache starts out as an unattractive and misshapen young tree but grows into a magnificent specimen. It is a tough tree that can withstand urban conditions and is commonly used in Xeriscape (dry landscaping).

This tree is popular in California and is often put to use as the understock for commercial pistachio growers.

Hardiness Zones

The potted chinese pistache can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 6–9. View Map

Tree Type

This is a shade tree, featuring a spreading canopy capable of blocking sunlight.

Mature Size

The Chinese pistache grows to a height of 25–35' and a spread of 25–35' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The Chinese pistache grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, silty loam, well-drained and clay soils. It also grows well in drought conditions.


This tree:
  • Provides good fall color, with leaves turning beautiful shades of orange and red.
  • Features lustrous dark green leaves that are around 10" long and compound, commonly with 10–12 (sometimes as many as 20) leaflets.
  • Produces panicles of greenish flowers in April and May, but they are not showy.
  • Yields small, round (¼" diameter) orange to red drupes that ripen in October.
  • Withstands heat quite well.
  • Grows in an oval, rounded, spreading shape.
  • Tolerates urban conditions fairly well.

Wildlife Value

Used by Xeriscape (dry landscaping) gardeners as a critical addition for wildlife. The seeds provide food for small rodents and birds while the flowers provide food for insects.


It has been described as the "Ugly Duckling" because it turns from an unattractive and misshapen young tree into a magnificent specimen tree.