Pistachio Tree

The history of Iranian pistachio tree

Pistachio tree is a plant that has been cultivated for a long time in different regions of Iran. Wild forests and wild pistachio in the northeastern regions of Iran and the areas bordering Turkmenistan and Afghanistan have an ancient background and it is thought that pistachio tree has been domesticated and cultivated in Iran since about 3-4 thousand years ago. The first pistachio types in Iran have been the result of breeding and domestication of wild pistachio trees, the number of which was very limited and their appearance was similar to the wild pistachio. Because of the transplantation and transfer of these pistachio types and the attention of gardeners, some change has been gradually created in the coarseness of pistachios and new types have emerged. Sabzevar and Sarakhs are considered as the oldest regions of pistachio cultivation. The history of pistachio cultivation in Damghan, Semnan and Qazvin is attributed to the seventh century AH, and in Kerman province it is attributed to the twelfth century AH. Pistachio cultivation in other parts of Iran dates back to 150-200 years ago. Despite the long history of pistachio cultivation in Iran, pistachio cultivation has developed increasingly in recent decades.

The botany of pistachio tree

The domestic pistachio tree (Pistacia Vera L.) belongs to the sumac genus (Anacardiaceae). The genus Pistacia has 11 species, all of which secrete turpentine. The plants of this genus are in the forms of tree or shrub. The pistachio tree has comb compound leaves and each leaf contains a lateral bud. Most lateral buds become the primary inflorescence and form a main axis producing pistachio clusters the next year. Therefore, these pistachio clusters grow laterally and become annual on the branch. Today, various pistachio types are cultivated in the world. Among the different types of pistachio, only domestic pistachio species, Chatlanqush, Golkhonak and Beneh, are produced in Iran. Chatlanqush and Beneh species are considered as suitable bases for transplanting domestic pistachio trees.

The under-cultivation area of Iranian pistachio tree

 At present, the under-cultivation area of Iranian pistachio tree is more than 360,000 hectares, of which Kerman province with a total of more than 270,000 hectares of fertile and infertile gardens produces 77% of the country's total crop and is considered as the most important pistachio cultivation region in Iran and the world. Meanwhile, other pistachio-rich provinces are: Yazd, Khorasan, Fars, Semnan, Sistan and Baluchestan, Qazvin, Markazi, Isfahan and Qom, which devote more than 90,000 hectares of the remaining under-cultivation area.

The botanical characteristics of pistachio tree

Pistachio tree is a plant with two bases, i.e. male and female flowers are located separated from each other and on separate trees, and both male and female trees are needed to produce fruit. The flowers of the pistachio tree have no petals and nectar-forming tubers and do not attract bees, and the pollen is dispersed by the wind. The pistachio tree has small leaves and falls asleep in autumn and winter. The rooting of this tree is axial and vertical, and the ability to produce sub-roots is weak in this tree. The seedling stage of the pistachio tree is long and produces little fruit before the age of five, but from the age of 10 to 12 begins full and economical fruiting. The height of the pistachio tree reaches about 309 cm and its crown is 394 cm averagely. Pistachio tree flowers early, but its fruit is not early ripening, usually bears fruit late, and needs a lot of maintenance to avoid pests.

The appropriate climate for pistachio tree

Pistachio tree grows well in regions with very cold winters and hot and long summers. Pistachio tree is cultivated in cold regions, needs a lot of winter cold, and is also resistant to cold. This tree is very resistant to drought, hot weather, and hot summers. For this reason, the central and southeastern regions of Iran are very suitable for the cultivation of this product. Pistachio tree is not compatible with humid air and soil. Pistachio tree is able to resist the temperatures of 45° C in summer and -20 ° C in winter. To have the maximum yield, the maximum relative humidity must be less than 35%. Lack of providing the required cold for pistachio trees leads to delay in flowering, irregular flowering, reduced leaflets, production of abnormal and simple leaves, etc.

Optimal soil for pistachio tree

The best soil for cultivating pistachio tree is light lemon soil, i.e. sand and clay. In light lands, using fertilizer is satisfactory for harvesting, but in heavy clay lands which maintain a large amount of moisture for a long time, cultivating this plant does not give satisfactory results and the yield will not be very remarkable. Pistachio tree can tolerate soil salinity to some extent. Pistachio cultivation is done from 27 to 42 degrees north latitude. Most pistachio trees are located at an altitude of 2000-900 meters above sea level.

The irrigation of pistachio tree

Although the pistachio tree is very resistant to dehydration, its irrigation should not be neglected especially in the early ages. On average, depending on the soil texture in terms of water conservation, the irrigation circuit of this tree is recommended based on its age: (except for winter)

A tree aged 1 to 3 years: irrigation circuit 7 to 10 days

A tree aged 3 to 6 years: irrigation circuit 12 to 20 days

A tree aged 6 years and older: irrigation circuit one month

It should be noted that when the irrigation circuit is one month, a lot of water should be given to the tree in each irrigation, so that moisture can penetrate completely into the soil.

The pruning of pistachio tree

Pruning means cutting the extra branches of the pistachio tree which is done in winter. Pruning causes the fruit of the pistachio tree to grow large and the yielding to be somewhat uniform in different years.

Fertilizing the pistachio tree

Pistachio tree needs a lot of fertilizers; livestock manure alone cannot meet the required nutrients for the crop. Therefore, in addition to livestock manure, chemical fertilizers should also be used. Livestock manure is given to the tree in autumn and chemical fertilizer is mixed with soil twice, one time in March and the other in June.

Pistachio harvest

Pistachios harvest begins in late September when the pistachios are fully ripe. Harvesting begins in the early hours of the day and the harvested product is placed in the shade or in a cool place. The harvested product is immediately transferred to pistachio processing centers, which are fully automatic and hygienic, so that it can immediately be peeled and separated. In this way, the hard shell color of pistachio will become white and will have a suitable marketability.

Iranian export pistachio types 

There are about 90 known pistachio types in Iran, many of which are cultivated sparsely, and only a limited number of pistachio types are grown commercially and widely in some regions of Iran such as Kerman. Commercial types of Iranian pistachio are divided into two groups: “Round” group, including Fandoghi Pistachio and Jumbo Pistachio (Kalle-Quchi); and “Long” group, including Akbari Pistachio and Ahmad Aghaei Pistachio.

Fandoghi Pistachio

Fandoghi Pistachio is one of the most popular and economical types of pistachio in Iran, which has devoted the largest volume of Iranian export pistachio. This type of pistachio is spherical, hazelnut-shaped, smaller than other types of pistachio, and a little smaller than a hazelnut. Because of the small size, the ounce of this pistachio is higher than other Iranian pistachio types and includes more pistachios per kilogram. Fandoghi Pistachio is usually found in sizes 28-30, 32-34 and 30-32. 

 Jumbo Pistachio (Kalle-Quchi)

Jumbo Pistachio (Kalle-Quchi) is one of the most delicious and largest commercial pistachio types in Iran. The appearance of this type of pistachio is round and spherical, and similar to Fandoghi Pistachio, but it is larger and heavier than Fandoghi Pistachio. The fame and popularity of Jumbo Pistachio (Kalle-Quchi) is because of its large kernel and very delicious taste. Jumbo Pistachio (Kalle-Quchi) is available in sizes 20-22 / 22-24 / 24-26.

Akbari Pistachio

Akbari Pistachio is the most luxury, the highest quality, and the best type of export pistachio in Iran which is more elongated than Ahmad Aghaei Pistachio, Fandoghi Pistachio and Jumbo Pistachio (Kalle-Quchi), has a higher commercial value, and is known as super long pistachio. Akbari Pistachio’s kernel is larger and more elongated than other types of Iranian pistachio and has a very good taste.

Akbari Pistachio is one of the commercial pistachio types with the highest economic value. Its fruits are almond-shaped, elongated, and large. Characteristics of this type include: high vegetative growth, dense leaves, large leaf area, high yield, late ripening which can be harvested in the third decade of September. Akbari Pistachio has a very strong and compressed wood. Akbari Pistachio is almond-shaped and is produced in sizes 20-22, 22-24, 24-26 in Iran’s pistachio-rich regions.

Ahmad Aghaei Pistachio

Ahmad Aghaei Pistachio is one of the largest and the most delicious commercial pistachio types in Iran, which is very popular in the Iranian and world markets. This type of pistachio is the most delicious pistachio type in Iran regarding taste, and in terms of production amount it has the most abundant pistachio type because of its high quality in grafting and high yield in Iran. Ahmad Aghaei Pistachio is almond-shaped, longer and larger than Fandoghi Pistachio, smaller than Akbari Pistachio, and its appearance is similar to Jumbo Pistachio (Kalle-Quchi). Ahmad Aghaei Pistachio is available in sizes 22-24, 24-26, 26-28.

28 October 2020
28 October 2020
28 October 2020
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