Scientific: Pistacia atlantica
Common: Mt. Atlas pistache, Mt. Atlas mastic tree, Persian turpentine tree, terebinth tree, wild pistachio
Family: Anacardiaceae
Origin: Across north Africa and southern Europe into Turkey, Iran and the Middle East at elevations from sea level to 5,000 feet.

Pronounciation: Pis-TA-cee-a at-lan-TEE-ca

Hardiness zones
USDA 8-11

Landscape Use: Really nice underutilized mesic shade tree. Great for parks, urban greenspaces, or residential or commercial landscapes. Also, makes a truly unique bonsai tree.

Form & Character: Rugged, visually imposing tree having an umbrella shaped and symmetrical crown architecture, mesic, 'tough guy' shade tree.

Growth Habit: Woody deciduous perennial tree, moderately slow when young to moderately fast with age to 60 feet with equal spread. Trunk character gray ridged and furrowed, rather than browh and shedding like P. chinensis.

Foliage/texture: Pinnately compound foliage, 7 to 11 pairs of leaflets, 2 to 4 inches long to 3/4 inch wide, yellow late fall or early winter color, leaves appear in spring earlier that P. chinensis and are also smaller and thicker; medium coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: Dioecious (unisexual), flowers in winter when deciduous, male flowers in compound racemes, females flowers in panicles, both reddish, catkin like, fruit on female tree a globose drupe turns bright red then blue.

Seasonal color: Yellow to scarlet red late fall color of leaves one of most dependable in urban desert cities.

Temperature: Somewhat more heat tolerant than P. chinensis.

Light: Full sun

Soil: Well drained, avoid caliche.

Watering: Irrigate regular and deeply, but it will take more drought than P. chinensis.

Pruning: Elevate canopy base to 10 to 12 feet above grade.

Propagation: Softwood cuttings and seed.

Disease and pests: Verticillium wilt and chestnut blight resistant

Additional comments: Mount Atlas pistache is more heat tolerant, with less dramatic yellow fall color and slightly finer texture than P. chinensis. It's a wonderful tree (because of its toughness) with exquisitely ridged and furrowed bark characteristics. During mild winters, this fine tree might not become deciduous. This is a very fine tree that should be used more in Phoenix landscapes.

The popular cultivar 'Red Push' is a hybrid between P. atlantica and P. integerrima. Though often gangly when young, this tough hybrid tree matures into a symmetrically-rounded large tree (40 feet height with equal spread) that makes an excellent shade tree for residential landscapes in Phoenix. With its outstanding yellow to red fall color and verticillium wilt resistance, this tree hybrid is non-allergenic and long-lived. It is locally available at Mountain States Wholesale Nursery.

Pistacia atlantica once extensively covered mountainous regions of the Middle East and its fruit is mentioned as having been given by Jacob as a gift to the leader of Egypt (Genesis 37:25). In its native Eurasian habitat, has been overharvested as a source for wood.