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Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

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Pistacia mexicana (Mexican pistachio)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Pistacia mexicana

Pistacia mexicana Kunth

Mexican Pistachio, Texas Pistachio, American Pistachio, Copal Pistachio, Wild Pistachio, Lentisco, Texas Pistache

Anacardiaceae (Sumac Family)

Synonym(s): Pistacia texana

USDA Symbol: PIME4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Pistacia mexicana is a large, airy, rounded shrub or multi-trunked small tree, 12-20 ft. tall. Its glossy foliage, reddish in spring, dark-green later, is pinnately compound. Clusters of small, white flowers are followed by clusters of red, nut-like drupes on females. These become almost black on drying.


From the Image Gallery

9 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 20 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug


Native Distribution: S. TX & n.e. Mex.
Native Habitat: Limestone cliffs; ravine edges

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Well-drained, alkaline soil.
Conditions Comments: This uncommon, handsome evergreen is drought-resistant and grows well in full sunlight and merits planting as an ornamental in warm, dry climates. In spring the new dark red foliage is showy. Clusters of small, white flowers are followed by clusters of red, nut-like drupes on females. These become almost black on drying.


Use Wildlife: Fruits attract birds.
Use Food: Goats browse the leaves; however, the small seeds are often empty and unimportant as food for wildlife or people. Pistachio nuts are from the related Common Pistache (Pistacia vera), native of western Asia.
Attracts: Birds
Deer Resistant: High

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX


Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Pistacia mexicana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Pistacia mexicana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Pistacia mexicana


Record Modified: 2023-05-25
Research By: TWC Staff

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