Pistacia chinensis
Family: Chinese Pistachio

Chinese pistachio has fans amongst almost all of the international writers concerned with street trees. This tree is relatively fast growing to 10m, is easily pruned to a height of 6m, will tolerate dry soils, and has exceptional foliage—especially in autumn.

Availability of Chinese Pistachio has been limited in south-eastern Australia because it is difficult to grow in nurseries. When young, it forms many leaders, and has a shrubby appearance. It is extremely difficult to grow a whip with a single, central leader and a straight trunk. Once the canopy is developed, it will form an even, round-headed tree easily and will not be at all troublesome in the landscape.

P. chinensis is well-known for its extremely fine foliage, pinnately-compound and rich green in summer; in autumn, it develops bright crimson colour and holds on the tree for many weeks. It is as well-coloured as Rhus, but without the allergy problems.

This small tree will grow well in most landscape sites, but probably is not tolerant of waterlogging. In dry and compacted sites, P. chinensis is one of the best tree choices, as it establishes easily, and is tolerant of extremely dry soils.

In summary, P. chinensis is an ideal tree for nature strips, in paving and under power lines. Its only fault is corrected in the nursery, and is a trouble-free, elegant landscape tree.

Typical mature height: 10m

Useful in: streetscapes, parks 

Sites for best growth: well-drained sites, very versatile