Chinese pistache
Pistacia chinensis

Secondary Names:
Chinese pistachio

Leaf Type: Deciduous
Texas Native:
Tree Description:

A medium-sized landscape tree to 40 feet tall and wide, 12" to 18" in diameter, and brilliant fall color. Branch structure is irregular and it often develops co-dominant leaders.

Range/Site Description:

Native to China, this species is now commonly available for landscape plantings in Texas. It tolerates a wide range of conditions, including drought, heat, and alkaline soils.


Alternately arranged on the twigs, once-compound, 10" to 16" long, with an even number of leaflets, usually 10 to 16, each 2" to 4" long and up to 0.75" wide, turning bright yellow, orange, and red in the fall. Leaflets are often staggered along the rachis, not opposite one another.


A branched spike of small, greenish flowers appears in spring above the foliage. Male and female flowers appear on separate trees.


On female trees, a branched, red cluster of round berries, each about 0.33" in diameter.


Light tan to gray, exfoliating in small strips or flakes, developing a rough texture with age.


Sold in the nursery trade for landscape plantings.

Similar Species:

Western soapberry (Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii) has red fruits and yellow-green leaves that turn red in the fall.

Interesting Facts:

Often used as the root stock for grafting the edible pistachio (Pistacia vera).

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