Though the nut-bearing Pistacia vera is the best-known pistachio, the two ornamental species described here (Pistacia chinensis and Pistacia texana) are far more useful in most of the South. Leaves are divided into leaflets; flowers are insignificant. Trees may be either male or female; if a male is nearby, females bear clusters of tiny fruit in fall. Young trees tend to be irregular in form and benefit from early training and pruning.
- Deciduous tree.
- US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9.
- Native to China.
- Fast becoming a favorite lawn, shade, and street tree in the South due to its quick growth, ease of care, adaptability, and outstanding and dependable fall color.
- Develops an oval to rounded shape, 3035 feet tall and wide.
- Foot-long leaves consist of 10 to 12 leaflets, 24 inches long, that change from lustrous dark green to brilliant scarlet, orange, and yellow in fall.
- Female tree bears small fruit that ripens from red to robin's-egg blue in October.
Plant in full sun for best growth and fall color. Tolerates almost any well-drained soil. Quite drought tolerant and pest-resistant. Also tolerates pollution, making it a good choice for urban settings. Its filtered shade allows grass to grow beneath it.
- Large, semievergreen to deciduous shrub or small multitrunked tree.
- Zones LS, CS, TS; USDA 8-11.
- Native to Texas.
- Grows 2030 feet tall, rarely to 40 feet.; eventually a bit wider than tall.
- Makes a feathery screen or, if cut back annually when young to promote dense habit, a fine-textured hedge.
- Female plants bear attractive red berries.
- Leaves have 7 to 21 oval, pointed leaflets; they have a reddish cast when new, then mature to glossy dark green.
- Foliage persists late into winter (plant is semievergreen where temperatures stay above 15F).
- Does well with moderate water but grows faster with regular water.
- Thrives in regular garden soil but is well adapted to a range of conditions, including limestone and caliche, provided drainage is good.
- Partial shade or full sun.
pistachio, pistachio nut
- Deciduous tree.
- Zone LS; USDA 8.
- From Iran.
- Broad, bushy tree to 30 feet tall and at least as wide.
- Gray-green leaves have three to five roundish, 2- to 4 inches-long leaflets.
- Reddish, wrinkled fruit in heavy clusters.
- Needs low humidity; chilly winters; and long, hot, dry summers to perform well.
- This limits pistachio production in the South to parts of West Texas.
- To get nuts, include a male tree in your planting; 'Peters' is the most widely planted male selection.
- Kerman is the principal fruiting (female) type.
When planting, avoid rough handling; budded tops are easily broken away from rootstock. Pistachios are inclined to spread and droop; stake them and train branches to good framework of four or five limbs beginning at 4 feet above ground. Established trees need little watering. Full sun.