Pistacia chinensis, commonly called pistachio or Chinese pistache, is native to China, Taiwan and the Philippines. It is a small deciduous tree that typically grows to 30-35’ (less frequently to 60’) tall with an oval rounded crown. Foliage consists of compound, even-pinnate, dark green leaves (to 10” long), each leaf typically having 10-12 lanceolate leaflets (to 4” long). Foliage is aromatic when bruised. Fall color is variable but often appears in quality shades of yellow, orange and red. Trees are dioecious (separate male and female trees), with flowers appearing in April in visible but somewhat inconspicuous green panicles. Pollinated flowers on female trees give rise to red-ripening-to-blue spherical fruits (drupes to 1/4” diameter) that ripen in fall. Gray-brown bark peels to reveal salmon inner bark. Street tree. Shade tree. Small landscape specimen for patio or garden.
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year.
1. Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for 45 days.
2. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Fill a pot with a mixture of half potting soil and half sand or vermiculite. Water the mixture so that it is moist but not wet.
3. Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil.
4. Water the container and leave it to drain.
5. Put the pot in a warm, sunny area.
6. Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet.
7. The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.