Basic Terminology

Accent Plant: A small plant or tree that is put next to a bonsai for display purposes.

Air Layering: A technique used to turn a part (e.g., a limb) of a larger tree into its own tree, by growing roots on from the part before its removal from the larger tree.

Back Budding: A technique to encourage new growth closer to the trunk of a tree that existing growth.

Bar Branches: A pair of branches directly opposite each other across the trunk, at the same vertical level.

Cambium: The layer of a tree beneath the bark that carries water an nutrients from the soil up to the branches and leaves.

Collected Tree: A tree that originally grew in the wild and was dug up and turned into a bonsai.

Concave Cutter: The most important specialized bonsai tool, which is used to remove limbs and branches most completely.

Cultivar: A particular variety of a species of plant or tree.

Defoliation: A technique to encourage smaller leaf growth by removing all the leaves from a tree in the middle of the summer.

Internodal Distance: The distance between leaves or sections on the trunk, limb or branch on a tree.

Jin: A dead branch on a tree, often created intentionally by stripping the bark and whitening with lime sulfur.

Lime Sulfur: A chemical used to whiten and preserve sections of a tree’s wood after removal of the bark.

Movement: The quality of a plant or tree’s trunk, limbs or branches departing from straight lines.

Nebari: The roots of a tree that run from the trunk along the surface of the soil.

Nursery Stock: A plant or tree from a nursery, usually in the form of raw material.

Pinching: A technique to remove small leave or other growth with one’s fingers.

Pre-Bonsai: A plant or tree that is still undergoing major growth and styling.

Ramification: The complex structure of minor braches growing off of major branches, which have grown off of limbs.

Raw Material: A plant or tree that has not been at all styled for bonsai.

Shari: An dead area of a the trunk of a tree, often created intentionally by stripping the bark and whitening with lime sulfur.

Taper: The quality of a plant or tree being widest or thickest at the base and narrowing as it moves up and out.

Yamadori: A collected tree (see above).