Satsuki - variety unknown

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Satsuki - variety unknown

Post  JimLewis on Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:06 pm

Got this from a bonsai shop in Ocala in 2001. The proprietor had lost the label. Oddly, the flowers seem to have reduced in size over the years. Not a lot, but some.


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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@alltel.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: Satsuki - variety unknown

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:22 pm

Jim,

What a pretty little satsuki.

I don't mean to step on your (or anyone elses) toes, if I may share some information...

This is Kaho, but in Japan this would be considered the "bad flower" form. Kaho is mostly white with a few flowers of light and dark pink, with some bi-colored flowers thrown in. Your tree was a cutting taken from a dark pink branch of the parent. That color is dominant, so that's all you will have. If the variety and color matter to a buyer it is very important to buy from someone you know personally or a reputable seller. Many good satsuki bonsai are sold cheaply for export, then when they bloom you find out why. I'm sure that there are quite a few satsuki bonsai for sale right now in this country that fall into this catagory. In Japan this is especially true with Kinsai, the blood red spider flower that everyone loves. It reverts to a dominant round petal that is technically still Kinsai, but has no value is the satsuki world.

The reason I mentioned above is exactly why satsuki aren't more commercially available as landscape material. I have a nurseryman friend here in the Mobile area who is actually growing a lage variety of satsuki, but every May he has to go through his blocks culling the bad flower forms. That does not mean that they are ugly or unhealthy. If he lists Kaho for instance as "mostly white with varying shades of pink", he can't ship his customers a solid dark pink plant. Most nurseries aren't willing to put the extra time and effort into something a variable as satsuki, so they stick with the solid color varieties like waka-ebisu or momo-no-hikari.

Russell Coker
Mobile, Alabama

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Re: Satsuki - variety unknown

Post  Velodog2 on Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:48 pm

I've read of this phenomenon and found it fascinating from a genetics point of view. I assume that it is possible to graft branches onto azaleas, and wonder if it would be considered cheating to put some light flowered branches of this same variety onto this plant.
Mike

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Re: Satsuki - variety unknown

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:25 pm

In this case it would be difficult because kaho is generally about 90% white. It would be better to graft the multi-pink shaded gyoten, a sport of kaho. Probably more trouble than it is worth.

I don't know if is actually considered cheating, but you can count on it being discussed in hushed tones if it is found out. In Kanuma there was a beautiful kinsai bonsai that was shown during the Satsuki Festival and at winter shows. It was big for a kinsai, and I remember remarking to a friend that I really liked it. He looked around and pulled me to the side and told me that all of the branches were grafted. It was old and had been done really well so there was no way to tell. Kinsai has a very distinctive color to the trunk, and when I pointed this out my friend told me that the trunk was indeed kinsai too - just the bad, round flowered form! There are very few large kinsai bonsai in Japan, and this one is pretty well known in bonsai circles. I don't know if this is common knowledge about this particular tree, and I wouldn't want to "out" someones bonsai! That was almost 25 years ago, so who knows now is anyones guess.

I suppose it is like restoring an antique car with nothing but reproduction parts. Most people probably wouldn't care, but the purists would cringe.

Russell Coker

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