Chinese pistachio, or Pistacia chinensis, is perhaps one of the most notable street trees internationally. From the United States, to South Africa to Australia and to China, this is a tree favored for urban environs. And no wonder. It’s fast growing, to 40 feet with a similar spread; has an excellent form, round-headed and full; and is tough as nails and highly disease resistant.

Chinese pistachio is well-known for its fine foliage, which consists of pinnately-compound leaves, rich green in summer and brilliant crimson in autumn, which holds for many weeks. Chinese pistachio is as well-colored as Sumac (Rhus) but without the possible allergy problems.

This small tree grows well in most environments, even wet ones, but it tolerates heat and compacted ground so well that it is often planted in hostile locations, such as parking lot islands and highway embankments. In those sites Chinese pistachio is one of your best choices. Also, it establishes easily, and is tolerant of even poor soils. But this tree is much more than just a great choice for urban trouble spots, because it’s even better when grown in optimum conditions. There it will grow tall and full and make a spectacular display of its rich autumnal shades every year. And on the female trees great clusters of bright red berries as well.

Chinese pistachio grows throughout the temperate world in all but the coldest regions. It would serve well as a specimen subject in a garden needing a small tree, or in a grouping or allee. It is a trouble-free, elegant landscape choice.

Chinese pistachio


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