Red Push Pistache vs. Chinese Pistache

Written by Larissa Smith
Updated: August 2, 2023
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If you’re looking for a tree that makes your garden pop, there’s no better plant than a red push pistache.

Red push pistache is a deciduous tree with an upright growth habit. It has an open branching structure and provides wonderful shade in your garden. It is a hybrid between P. atlantica and P. integerrima and is relatively new and increasing in popularity.

Chinese pistache trees are generally smaller than similar species, making them ideal for smaller yards or containers. In addition, they make great screens around patios or decks because they grow upright instead of spreading out like other types of trees.

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If you’re looking for a tree that will grow in almost any environment, Chinese pistache might be the one for you. These trees are resistant to drought, wind, and even salt air. They’re also resistant to many pests and diseases, making them an excellent choice for urban areas where pests tend to be more prevalent.

How can we tell the difference between the two? Let’s find out!

Comparing Red Push Pistache and Chinese Pistache

Red Push PistacheChinese Pistache
ClassificationKingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Pistacia
Species: P. atlantica X P. integerrima
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Pistacia
Species: P. chinensis
OriginUSACentral and Western China
Description– Grows 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide
– Medium-sized deciduous tree with an umbrella-like crown
– Leaves are fiery red in the fall and dark green in the spring
– They don’t bear fruit
– Grows 25-30 feet tall and 25-foot spread
– Leaves are bright red, yellow, and orange in the fall
– They produce red berries that change blue or purple in the winter
UsesOrnamental treeOrnamental tree
How to Grow– Plant in direct, full sunlight
– Water the soil deeply when it is dry
– Use a well-draining soil
– Grow in full sun
– Use moist, well-draining soil
– No need to water regularly after the tree has established itself

Red Push Pistache vs. Chinese Pistache: Classification and Origin

It is easy to see that some of the characteristics of the tree are still emerging. However, technically speaking, the red push pistache is still a baby since propagation began a little over twenty years ago, compared to the Chinese pistache.

The red push pistache originates from the USA and is a hybrid plant. It is a medium-sized tree made through the combination of P. atlantica and P. integerrima, meaning that the red push pistache contains properties from both species. They may be the younger plant, but it has larger growth patterns and overall size between the two trees.

In comparison, the Chinese pistache is native to China, in particular central and western China. The Chinese pistache is a fragrant tree that provides an excellent source of shade and has been around for centuries. These majestic trees are well known for their beautiful fall colors, blooming in red, gold, green, and brown hues as the tree goes through the seasons before its leaves fall off.

Like its family member, the Chinese pistache produces a mild fragrance and tolerates most weather conditions. Not only can this tree survive droughts and other poor weather conditions, but it can also survive many soil quality types. In addition, both the red push pistache and the Chinese pistache are deciduous and can provide a source of shade when their leaves fall off due to their stature.

Close-up bright stunning Chinese Pistache (Pistachia chinensis) orange leaves texture.
Both red push pistache and Chinese pistache (pictured) are from the genus Pistacia.


Red Push Pistache vs. Chinese Pistache: Description

Red Push Pistache

The red push pistache is a deciduous hybrid plant with a moderate growth rate. These trees can grow up to 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide. If soil and weather conditions are optimal, they can grow up to 40 feet with a 30-foot spread.

The red push pistache got its name from the leaves’ color when they first appeared. When their leaves grow, they are fiery red before turning green as the tree blossoms. Unfortunately, the red push pistache does not bear any fruit, which is one of the ways you can tell the two trees apart.

Chinese Pistache

The Chinese pistache comes from the Pistacia genus, which contains many of the same properties as the red push pistache. They grow to around 25-30 feet tall with a 25-foot spread. The leaves are beautiful shades of yellow, red, and orange in the fall. Their vibrant color makes them a household name, known as ornamental street trees in urban areas.

Chinese pistache is a great tree for people looking for a hardy, non-invasive tree that will give them lots of shade. It can be grown in USDA zones 5-9, which means that it’s pretty much guaranteed to grow in your area.

The tree is highly drought-resistant, making it ideal for areas where water is scarce during certain times of the year. It’s also resistant to pests and diseases, so you won’t have to worry about any problems with them. In addition, the leaves of the Chinese pistache turn yellow in fall, adding more color and beauty to your yard as well as providing food for birds when they drop from the trees in wintertime.

Unlike the red push pistache, Chinese pistachio trees produce red berries that birds enjoy. The berries are red in the fall when they reach maturity and a blue or purple color in the winter.

Close up of the leaves of pistacia chinensis with a person walking in the background on the left.
Chinese pistache (pictured) provides excellent shade, and the leaves are vibrant red, orange, and yellow in the fall.

© De Vivo

Red Push Pistache vs. Chinese Pistache: Uses

The red push pistache has primary ornamental uses, as it is an excellent plant for those with large yard space. In addition, they are a great source of shade and have non-invasive roots, meaning they will not endanger the surrounding habitat and ecosystem.

The Chinese pistache is also known for its ornamental uses and provides an outstanding visual aspect to any garden or landscape. In addition, experts in China discovered that the Chinese pistache produces oil that can create a more sustainable and renewable energy source. You can also repurpose these trees in furniture design. The Chinese pistache wood, in particular, will have a slight yellow stain.

Red Push Pistache vs. Chinese Pistache: How to Grow

The red push pistache and Chinese pistache are species from the same genus and have similar growing habits. Both can be grown from seedlings or cuttings from mature trees. It prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade if it has plenty of water. The soil should be sandy with good drainage or loamy soil mixed with composted manure or other organic material for best results.  

Growing red push pistache tips:

  • Plant in direct, full sunlight
  • Water the soil deeply when it is dry
  • Use a well-draining soil

Make sure to follow a regular watering schedule during your plant’s first season to help the tree develop robust and expansive root systems. Then, feed the tree all-purpose or general fertilizer before spring to encourage new growth. Chinese pistache trees are very easy to grow, but they need full sun all day long to thrive well in most climates — so make sure you choose an area with plenty of sunshine!

Growing Chinese pistache tips:

  • Grow in full sun
  • Use moist, well-draining soil
  • No need to water regularly after the tree has established itself

Final Thoughts

The Red Push Pistache and the Chinese Pistache are majestic trees. Although they can often be mistaken for one another, there are subtle differences to help you notice which is which. From providing a great sense of shade to having the potential to create a renewal energy source, these trees are as unique as they are beautiful!

Depending on the season, your yard or property could look like it contains the embers of the sun. What could be more bold and elegant than a large tree with leaves in warm colors? With green, gold, brown, and red leaves, the red push pistache and the Chinese pistache are the perfect addition for any plant lover looking for an elegant focal point in their property.

The Featured Image

Chinese pistache tree displaying red and green leaves with blue skies in the background.
Unlike the Chinese pistache (pictured), the red push pistache doesn't produce fruit.

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About the Author

The natural world is one of the most beautiful things, and I believe we should all do our part to protect it. After years spent in the South African bush, I found my way to writing about animals and nature in my work. My hope is to inspire others to appreciate and care for the world around them.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How fast does red push pistache grow?

Red push pistache grows 14-24″ per year. Therefore, it has a medium growth rate.

When are the best time to plant the red push pistache and Chinese pistache?

The best time to plant both trees is in the spring or fall to ensure that your tree can acclimate to the weather conditions and be ready when it first sheds its leaves.

Can you eat Chinese pistache berries?

Chinese pistache berries are not edible for human consumption, but birds love them!

What is the lifespan of the Chinese pistache tree?

Chinese pistache trees can live for more than 100 years.

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