Chinese Pistache Tree

Chinese Pistache Trees – Southwest Landscape

Last Updated on August 15, 2021 by Paul Guzman

Chinese Pistache Trees for landscaping (Pistacia chinensis). The Chinese Pistache tree (non-bearing) is Probably one of the hardiest trees to plant in and around the Southwest. It is a small to medium-sized ornamental tree and of course, it is native to China.   A very drought tolerant hardy tree for regions where rainwater is low but still want a good hardy tree for shade or ornamental landscape.  It is related to the nut-bearing pistachio tree but will not produce nuts.

Chinese Pistache Trees
The Chinese Pistache tree. The left image is during summer and the right image is its bright bronze reddish color.

The male will usually produce a more reddish color but it is hard to differentiate between a male and female at most nursery stores.  They also look somewhat gangly the first 2-3 years after planting them but they get into the 4-5 years they will start to have that canopy look.

The perfect tree for your backyard

Well, there is no such thing as a “perfect tree” but this one gets pretty close for Southwest landscaping.  It will eventually grow up to 40-50 ft. tall and 35 ft. wide.  It is a moderate grower and drought-tolerant tree but will grow much faster if you water more often.  Chinese Pistache tree produces a beautiful well-rounded canopy perfect for shade or ornamental landscape.  It is a disease and insect-resistant tree and hardy down to -20 ° F.  It can also tolerate the Southwest’s alkaline soils.

City and state landscaping officials around the southwest love using this tree because of its endurance, easy care, and tolerance for high traffic areas.  In addition to its ease and care it produces long-lasting bright bronze/red foliage during the autumn seasons.


Chinese Pistache Trees
A young Chinese Pistache tree in a typical parking lot during the fall season.

Chinese Pistache Trees

It is a moderate-growing ornamental tree that will provide shade during the summer, spring, and fall seasons.  A very good tree that is well adapted to the Southwest region.

Types of Chinese Pistache Trees

There are several varieties of these trees. The female will produce red berries during the fall. These berries are not edible for human consumption however birds love them.
Chinese Pistache Trees


The “Kieth Davey” is a  good specimen tree for bright red fall color.  Branches form a nicely shaped,  pinnately divided foliage. The leaves will turn brilliant dark orange to scarlet red color.  The Kieth Davey Chinese Pistache is strictly a male tree and will not produce red berries in fall.  A great tree for a medium to large backyards for shade and fall color.   You can see a photo of this tree at

Types of Chinese Pistache Trees
Pistacia chinensis botanical name

The Red Push is another variety that grows larger and will also turn a bronze foliage color in mid-fall.

Southwest Trees for desert areas.  Fall Colors in the Southwest.



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