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Plant Profile: Pistachio (Pistachia vera)

Native to the Middle East this small deciduous tree  is a member of cashew family, Anacardiaceae, that also includes mango, poison ivy, sumac, and smoke  tree.  With a spreading growth habit, the plants grow 25-30′ tall and have pinnately compound gray-green leaves with 5 oval leaflets.  In spring greenish brown male and female flowers lacking petals appear on different plants.  Fertilized female flowers give rise to reddish husks that contain two-sided beige nuts.  Trees are very long lived and begin bearing fruit after 5 years but reach maximum productivty in about 20. Male and female trees must be present together for good fruit production. The genus name, Pistachia, is derived from the ancient Greek word pistákion, the ancient Greek name of the plant.  The specific epeithet, vera, is the classical Latin word meaning true to type, standard.

Type: Deciduous tree

Outstanding Feature: Fruit (nut)

Form: Oval, rounded, vase

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: Male and female greenish brown flowers lacking petals on different plants in spring

Size: 25-30′ H x 2-30′ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Organically rich, moist to dry, well-drained; drought tolerant when established.

Hardiness: Zones 7-11

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: Armillaria, crown rot, root root, verticillium rot

Propagation: Budding

Outstanding Selections: ‘Peters’ (male), ‘Kerman’ (female)

Photo Credit: Wikipedia