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Orchids as Bonsai

Itaru Tsuchiya

This article first appeared in the February 1960 American Orchid Society Bulletin. Orchids as Bonsai are still rare although many miniature species would make spectacular specimens. - Ron McHatton, AOS Director of Education, 2009.

Dendrobium moniliforme used for Bonsai

In Japan, the art of Bonsai has been prevalent among aged persons for hundreds of years. They have tried many kinds of plants for the purpose. Not only trees, but also herbaceous plants like Chrysanthemum or reed have been grown as Bonsai.

There are many dainty little wild orchids growing in Japan. However, it has been very seldom that these orchids were used for Bonsai because orchids cannot be trained to form a desired composition. The photos are a few examples of Bonsai orchids grown by one of the sergeants of Kyoto University. He provides these Bonsai for the decoration of the main office of the university. Every visitor, especially overseas, seems to appreciate them very much and the old sergeant is always content with it.

Habenaria radiata with miniature Equisetum


Bonsai from Sedirea japonica


Orchis rupestris used for Bonsai


Neofinetia falcata as Bonsai


Botanical Institute, Faculty of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.