Dwarf Trees in Japan from The Pines and Firs of Japan


       The Pines and Firs of Japan by Andrew Murray, F.L.S. (1863, reprinted with additions and corrections to the 1862 edition) includes these lines:

       (in the section about Pinus massoniana): The art of the Japanese has exhausted itself in the cultivation of these pines.  They clip and cut them in all manner of ways, they stretch the branches like a fan upon horizontal espaliers, or give to the branches so distorted the form of a flat plate.  In that artificial culture extremes meet; -- surprise is equally sought to be gained by specimens of immense size, as by others reduced to the most minute proportions.  During Siebold's sojourn at Ohosaka he went to see the celebrated Pine before the Theehaus Naniwaja, of which the branches artificially extended have a circuit of 135 paces; on the other hand they showed him at Jedo a dwarf tree planted in a lacquered box, of which the branches did not occupy more than two square inches.  Great progress has been made in Japan in the art of grafting and budding different Conifers upon each other, an art so much practiced that it has a name for itself both in China and Japan.  In Japanese it is called Isugiki, and in Chinese Sessiho.  Siebold saw dwarf trees on which they had united, by grafting, the greater part of the species and varieties of Pine cultivated in Japan.  (pg. 31)

       (in the section about Larix Leptolepsis): In the south of Japan it is sometimes cultivated as a decorative tree, and they grow dwarf trees in pots which cost very dear, and from that cause have received the appellation of 'Gold-penny firs' (sapins deniers d'or)... (pg. 92) 1


NOTES

1     Murray, Andrew, F.L.S.  The Pines and Firs of Japan  Reprinted with additions and corrections, from the Proceedings of the Royal Horticultural Society, 1862, London: Bradbury & Evans, Whitefriars; 1863), pp. 31 and 92.


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