Deciduous Early Development Part III: Styrax

Michael Hagedorn

Styrax is, like the magnolia featured in Part II of this series, a rarely seen deciduous bonsai. Mr. Takeyama in Japan has some remarkable styrax specimens, and seeing his was the reason I started trying them for bonsai.

This specimen is Styrax japonicus, also known as Japanese snowbell-

Continuing the theme of this series, you will notice some branches that seem overlong, or too thick, or out of place and yet left on the tree and not pruned off. In this early stage of development this ‘leaving what you don’t want’ helps build the tree faster, and also, counterintuitively, slows down some areas so that we get greater twiggyness. This is more fully explained in Part I.

Our young specimen, about eight years old. Styrax is a strikingly vigorous plant, almost stronger than trident maple. This photo is from the fall, in October, during our final pruning of…

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