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Pistacia chinensis Bunge

Modern name

Pistacia chinensis Bunge

A large deciduous tree up to 80 ft high in Central China. Leaves evenly pinnate, about 9 in. long, composed of usually ten or twelve leaflets, generally but not invariably without the terminal odd one. Leaflets ovate-lanceolate, long-pointed, unequally divided by the midrib, 212 to 312 in. long, 34 in. wide, glabrous except when quite young. Flowers in a cluster of panicles near the end of the shoot, the male flowers crowded on an inflorescence 3 in. long, the female ones on a much more open, lax panicle 7 to 9 in. long. Fruit the size of large peppercorns, first red, then blue.

Native of Central and W. China, where the young shoots and leaves are eaten cooked as a vegetable by the Chinese. This is undoubtedly the best of the pistacias to cultivate in England. It was originally introduced to Kew by means of seed in 1897, and is apparently perfectly hardy, never having suffered in the least from cold up to now, although quite unprotected. It has no beauty of flower, but the foliage is of a glossy, cheerful green, and Mr Wilson (who sent home seeds during his 1908 and 1910 journeys in China) told me that it turns a gorgeous crimson before falling in autumn, rendering a large tree one of the most glorious pictures conceivable.



Other species in the genus