Bonsai Terms

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This article will teach you all the terms you need to know regarding bonsai plants.
by Brett · All Zones · Advanced Growing · 0 Comments · October 06, 2010 · 7,669 views

Having a working familiarity with bonsai terminology will enable you to effectively express all facets of your bonsai activities to others, both more and less skilled than yourself, in the bonsai community. The following list of words and definitions will help you on your way to becoming fluent in the unique language of bonsai:

Accent Plant - a small plant that is put on view in conjunction with a bonsai; usually when a bonsai is being formally displayed at a show or exhibition; also called a companion plant.

Air Layer - a method for propagating trees through the removal of a large branch or section of trunk from an existing tree, or bonsai, to create a new tree.

Akadama - a traditional Japanese bonsai soil that is comprised of the red volcanic matter of Japan; used for thousands of years by bonsai artists on most types of deciduous bonsai trees.

Apex - the very top or highest point of a bonsai tree.

Back budding - a process of encouraging new growth on a branch where growth is currently non-existent.

Broadleaved - trees, mainly deciduous, with broad, flat leaves; non-conifer trees.

Bunjin - a traditional Japanese bonsai style; also called literati. This is a tree that has a tall, slender trunk with foliage growing only near the top; illustrating maturity and the casting off of material things.

Buttress - the area of a tree trunk where the roots meet the soil surface; usually styled to convey strength.

Callus - the scar tissue that forms over a wound where a branch has been pruned off of a tree; it is part of the tree's healing process.

Cambium - the thin layer of green colored cell tissue growing between the bark and the wood of a living tree.

Canopy - all of the upper-most branches that form the top of a tree.

Chokkan - a traditional Japanese bonsai style; also called a formal upright. This is a tree that has a very straight trunk with symmetrical branching; illustrating strength and order.

Collected tree - finding and taking a tree from its natural habitat; a tree that has been shaped by the forces of nature alone.

Conifer - a tree that bears cones; mainly evergreen trees such as: pines, cedars, spruces and junipers.

Cross - a hybrid resulting from cross-fertilization between species or varieties.

Crown - the upper section of a bonsai where the branches spread out from the trunk.

Cultivars - cultivars are plants that have features desirable to the person "cultivating" them. These desirable characteristics have been deliberately selected and can be reliably reproduced in plants under controlled cultivation.

Cut-leaved - a bonsai that has leaves which are shaped in very distinct segments.


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