Introduction To Chinese Pistache
Chinese Pistache is a common name provided to the plant Pistacia chinensis which is native to China, Taiwan and the Philippines. It is native to the forests of hilly regions which are present around a height of 100–3600 m above the sea level. Chinese Pistache is a medium to large, moderately growing plant which is mostly established as a street plant for its essence of providing an ample amount of shade. The budding trees of Chinese Pistache are called as “ugly ducklings” because of their spindly branches. This tree has an astounding variety of fall colours like versatile shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. Chinese Pistache is a close relative to the family of Cashew nut trees but produces no nuts as such. The family of Chinese Pistache is same as that of the Cashew family, that is, Anacardiaceae. It is also commonly known as Pistacia formosana, Pistacia philippinensis, Rhus argyi and Rhus gummifera.
- Chinese Pistache can grow up to a height of 25 to 35 feet long and 25 to 35 feet in width.
- The average age of this plant is 150 years.
- The leaves are pinnately compound having medium green, red, gold, orange or multicoloured shades depending upon the type. The stem is long with 11 to 20 alternating pointed leaflets on each stem.
- The plant is dioecious, either male or female flowers are present.
- The growth of the plant is comparatively slow in the initial 2 to 3 years of planting.
- The flowers are greenish and non-showy. The fruit is produced by the female Pisteache which are red coloured berry-like drape fruits and are inedible for humans but preferred by the birds in the fall.
- Chinese Pistache is intolerant to shade and therefore requires full sun for maximum growth.
- This plant can tolerate a downfall of around -25 °C, yet it is preferred in warm regions as well.
- Chinese Pistache prefers dry to moist soil. The soil texture should be clay, loamy or sandy. The pH of the soil must be slightly acidic to completely alkaline.
- Chinese Pistache grows at a moderate rate, that is, 13-24 inches per year.
- The bark of this tree appears grey from outside but when chimed, unveils pink colour from inside.
Root System Of Chinese Pistache
Chinese Pistache has a deep Taproot system. Morphologically, the roots of Chinese Pistache consist of one solid, cylindrical chief root, known as the primary root, from which additional branches of roots appear known as the secondary and the tertiary roots. At the apex of the tertiary root, the faint hair-like fabrication is present, known as the rootlets which are accountable for significant water consumption from the soil. The roots of the Chinese Pistache tree are intensely rooted and are not easy to uproot.
They grow well in drought-like circumstances in which their deep roots help in the intake of water and nutrients from the soil. Chinese Pistche roots are seldom considered invasive but in reality, only the roots of the female Pistache trees are invasive and that too only when there is a male tree nearby for pollination. Contrarily, the roots are non-aggressive and deeply rooted. Chinese Pistache if planted from the bare roots should be settled as soon as brought and should be kept moist and fresh for initial days.
Uses of Chinese Pistache
- The seed, shoots, and leaves of Chinese Pistache are edible and are cooked/roasted and are eaten or used in confectionery.
- The wood of Chinese Pistache is hard and is used for furniture and carpentry and this wood also generates a yellow dye.
- Chinese Pistache is used as a rootstock for the plant known as pistachio nut (Pistacia vera).
- This plant is preferred as a street tree because it is tolerant of extreme conditions and requires minimum care but gives a good amount of shade which makes it a preference for a street tree.
- The oil produced from the seeds of this plant is used as biofuel in China.
I need to plant a ground cover under my Pistache. Should I add soil on top or dig into the soil around the tree. The tree is 25 years old and the shade is great but the ground under it is bare.