Help with bonsai ID

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Help with bonsai ID

Post  Marc L on Tue May 05, 2009 1:35 am

I just bought a bonsai at Home Depot (I know, I know, it's not the best place to buy... it was an impulse buy).

Can you please help me identify the type, so i can take proper care of it?






Marc L
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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Martijn Willems on Tue May 05, 2009 6:29 am

I believe this is a Boxwood.

Don't know about the zone you live in but it should be outdoors.

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Rick Moquin on Tue May 05, 2009 12:45 pm

Yup! a boxwood it is, cultivar unknown.

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Jay R on Tue May 05, 2009 12:49 pm

Looks like a Boxwood to me too. You may want to fill in some info in your profile. It will appear by your name and will get you more specific advise for your area.

Jay

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Marc L on Tue May 05, 2009 2:18 pm

Thanks for the help in IDing my bonsai. Does anyone know more specifically which variety of boxwood this is (does it matter)? I've included a better photo of the flowers, in case that helps. The petals are rather thick for their size, and the back of them looks waxy.



Also, I've updated my profile, as requested. I live in DC, zone 7.

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Randy_Davis on Tue May 05, 2009 4:03 pm

Hi Marc

Your boxwood is the English form (Buxus sempervirens). The cultivar is unknown since there are only about 100 or more cultivars to choose from. From a bonsai standpoint all boxwoods can be handled the same from a cultivation standpoint. Feel free to prune as they bud back quite readily which is a good thing for the bonsai beginner. I'm sure you'll be able to find good detail instructions on it's care in many places on the internet. You might try BCI as a good place to find information - http://www.bonsai-bci.com/species/boxwood.html
You should also contact the Potomac bonsai club since it's in your area. - http://www.potomacbonsai.com/potomacBonsai/index.html

good luck!

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  kenduncan on Tue May 05, 2009 7:04 pm

The flowers and the leaves look like some form of Japanese holly (Ilex Crenata)>
Ken

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Storm on Tue May 05, 2009 7:12 pm

I would rather go for Boxwood than the Ilex..

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  JimLewis on Tue May 05, 2009 7:15 pm

Yes. It is boxwood. I would have suggested B. mycrophylla.

If it smells a little like cat piss it is B. mycrophylla.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Randy_Davis on Tue May 05, 2009 7:47 pm

JimLewis wrote:Yes. It is boxwood. I would have suggested B. mycrophylla.

Hi Jim,

I don't think it's B. microphylla (Japanese Boxwood) which has a yellow-green and more rounded mature foliage and will put on a bronzy cast during the cold months. In Marc's picture the mature foliage is a nice "bluish-green" and somewhat oblong which is the right coloration and shape for B. sempervirens. I doubt that they are selling much B. microphylla in the DC area as it's not as cold tolerant as B. sempervirens which is commonly avaliable in the colder winter climate areas. In any event from a bonsai perspective they would both be treated the same culturally.

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Marc L on Tue May 05, 2009 9:18 pm

Thank you all for your time, information and advice. Now I'll be able to take proper care of my new baby.

Marc L
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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  kenduncan on Tue May 05, 2009 9:38 pm

I have never seen a boxwood with serrated, alternate leaves and gray bark. All of the boxwoods I know of have opposite, smooth edge leaves and tan bark.
Ken


Here is a picture of a boxwood and and a Japanese holly side by side.

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Randy_Davis on Tue May 05, 2009 11:15 pm

Hi ken ,

Yes,they are very close in deed. the easiest way to tell is by the new and one year old growth of the stem. Buxus will have a stem that is quadrangular shape with leaves opposite in pairs where Ilex crenata will be a round round stem with alternating leaves. Good call Ken! Marc should look closely.

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Marc L on Wed May 06, 2009 12:21 pm

The leaves are definitely like Ken's photo on the left: serated, both halves angled toward the center, but not curved like Ken's photo on the right. As for positioning of the leaves (alternating vs opposite), it's not as clear cut as Ken's samples, but it does look more like the sample on the left.

So now I'm looking at a holly it seems. My poor baby is having an identity crisis!

Do the flowers give any further information?

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  kenduncan on Wed May 06, 2009 12:49 pm

Hi Mark, The flowers do look like a Holly to me. Are those rocks glued down? If the rocks are glued to the surface, You should remove them and think about repotting the tree in some good Bonsai soil and keep it outside.
Ken

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Marc L on Wed May 06, 2009 2:07 pm

Yes, the rocks are glued down. I thought it was peculiar. Is this common practice?

We've had some cool, rainy weather since I bought it on the weekend, so I've kept it indoors. I put it outside today, keeping an eye on the weather (possibility of thundershowers).

I'll repot it ASAP. I have 2 types of bonsai soil: "deciduous" and "conifer". Which would you recommend?

Another question: as the flowers die, should I remove the head (deadhead), or prune it to the bottom of the shoot?

Marc L
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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  kenduncan on Wed May 06, 2009 9:38 pm

Hi Mark, You will find the Bonsai at Home Depot and other places like that, will have the glued on rocks, I think that it is for shipping. You should remove the rocks right away so that the plant can get water and air. When You get ready to repot the tree, I would use the deciduous mix, something that is well draining, but holds some moisture. The flowers can be removed but they will probably fall off on there own.
Good luck with your tree.
Ken

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  David Brunner on Fri May 08, 2009 3:32 am

Do the flowers give any further information?

Hello Marc - this is the sort of question that does a botanical heart good! Flowers most certainly do provide further information - they are the cornerstone of plant identification. The holly determination is right on target - and the flowers are the proof. Boxwood belongs to the Box family, Buxaceae, which is characterized by unisexual flowers typically borne in spikes, racemes or fascicles. Your photo clearly shows bisexual flowers, so it most definitely falls outside the Box... The photo also clearly shows the nice fat stigma which characterizes many an Aquifoliaceae (the Holly family).

Thanks for the fun, and for the good clear photo of the flowers - that's a rare treat in ID requests!
David Brunner

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Marc L on Fri May 08, 2009 2:21 pm

Thanks, David, for reinforcing Ken's position, and for the detailed clarification.

I'm going to really show my ignorance by asking what the difference is between male/female/bisexual, in the context of flowers.

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  David Brunner on Fri May 08, 2009 7:19 pm

Marc – now this is really getting fun!

I have scanned an image from a very old text because it has long since gone into the public domain – I don’t want to step on copyright toes… But not much has changed in basic plant morphology in the intervening years. The image comes from page 461 of “Comparative Morphology of Vascular Plants” by Adriance Foster and Ernest Gifford, published by W.H. Freeman and Co. in 1959.

The image is that of a basic bisexual (also called “perfect”) flower representative of the reproductive structures of many flowering plants. The term bisexual is used because the flower has both female reproductive structures (the ovary, style and stigma – collectively called the pistil) and male reproductive structures (the anther and filament – collectively called the stamen) present in the same flower. Unisexual flowers would have only one or more pistils or one or more stamens in each flower.

You can see that the drawing here resembles the picture you posted, where both a single pistil and multiple stamens are present in the same flower.

Does this help with your question?


David Brunner

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Luciano on Sat May 09, 2009 4:18 am

Cotoneaster mycrophylla ??!!

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Re: Help with bonsai ID

Post  Marc L on Mon May 11, 2009 5:40 am

Yes David, that clears things up. Thanks again!

I really should get a proper plant & bonsai education, and join my local bonsai club.

Marc L
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