Ficus microcarpa, commonly called the Chinese Banyan or Indian Laurel, is the most used ficus species for bonsai. Although it has many cultivars and varieties, Tiger Bark, aka Golden Gate, Kinmen, Kingman, Kimeng, Kin Men etc. is perhaps the most popular because it is easy to grow, has a beautiful bark, and their leaves reduced easily. Where do these names come from?
My ‘Tiger Bark’ ficus which won the Best Tropical Bonsai in the 2016 US National Bonsai Exhibitions. The history of its training from a pre-bonsai was described in an older blog.
Min Hsuan Lo gave a short description on the discovery and naming of Kinmen (Tiger Bark) ficus in his book, “Bonsai Journey”. Since it was written in Chinese and not many ficus enthusiasts in the West read Chinese, I will retell the story with explanations on related Taiwan history and background.
This cultivar was discovered…
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