Many terms used in the art of bonsai are from the Japanese language or are scientific botanical terms. This page lists and defines some commonly used terms.
A bud in an unusual place.
The topmost point of the tree.
The most vigorous area of growth on the tree, usually at points furthest from the tree itself.
A tree with rough bark.
The process of pruning apical growth.
A coiled trunk tree.
Trees with broad leaves, rather than needles or scaled leaves.
The green tip of a newly opening bud.
The point at which a bud unfurls.
Upright trunk with no branches except at the very top.
A trunk which widens at the base, giving the tree the appearance of age and power.
Tissue that forms over a wound on a branch or trunk as part of the healing process.
A formative one-cell-thick layer of tissue between xylem and phloem in most vascular plants that is responsible for secondary growth.
A formal upright bonsai style, with a pyramid of branches in all direction.
The commonly known name of a tree, as opposed to its Latin name.
Any tree or shrub bearing cones; with a few exceptions, they are evergreen.
Any variety of a cultivated species.
The shedding foliage at the end of the growing season.
Removing, or partly removing, leaves to produce new, smaller, leaves.
Death of growth beginning at tip from disease or injury.
Japanese terms fo branches.
Artificially bleached branches.
The process of removing unwanted branches.
The harmonizing effect of branch structure.
Pruning of branches.
A plant having foliage that persists and remains green throughout the year.
The main direction of the trunk.
A windswept bonsai style, where the trunk is at an angle and the branches are ‘swept’ back in one direction.
Taxonomic plant group containing one or more species, i.e. ACER Palmutum (see also ‘Species’, ‘Variety’).
The tap root of a tree.
A coarse grained soil.
The process of joining the tissue of two living plants.
Pinching out leaves.
Misting of leaves with water.
A semi-cascade style, where the branches grow in one direction, without really weeping.
Tree with a very coiled trunk.
Wiring a tree to force branches to grow in certain directions.
A broom shaped bonsai style, with a straight trunk and domed crown.
A style where the trunk is buried horizontally, with branches growing out as if they are individual trees.
Trees suitable for keeping indoors, normally tropical, or subtropical species.
A tree which has roots growing around a rock.
Deadwood effect on the branches of a tree.
Top of the tree.
Multiple trunks growing from the same root.
Deciduous hardwood trees.
A branch which must be removed.
Pruning of leaves and branches.
A classic style, where the trunk hangs down below the pot.
A trunk which tapers toward the top.
Tree with twin trunks.
A technique of taking a cutting, where rooting takes place without the cutting being separated from it’s parent.
Small bonsai tree, less than 10cm tall.
A very old bonsai tree.
A tree which bears fruit.
Developing bonsai trees from seed.
Informal, upright bonsai style.
The lower trunk and exposed roots of the bonsai.
Tree with a twisted trunk.
Point on a branch or trunk from which leaves, leaf buds and shoots arise.
Trees suitable for keeping outdoors.
Parent tree with reference to air-layering grafting technique.
Area above the cambium in the trunk, the tissue that conducts synthesized food substances to parts where needed.
Potential bonsai tree.
The repeated division of branches.
Landscapes with rocks and trees.
Tree with a triple trunk.
Propagation by means of cuttings.
Training of bonsai trees.
Variation of the formal upright style, but where the trunk is slanting.
Deadwood effect on the trunk of a tree.
Bare sun bleached driftwood style, where the grain of the wood is visible.
Softwood coniferous trees.
Small bonsai tree, less than 15cm tall.
Bonsai tree from collected specimens in the wild.
Tree with a twin trunk.
The subdivision of ‘Genus’, i.e. Acer PALMUTUM (see also ‘Genus’, ‘Variety’).
The way a tree has been shaped to create an image of a fully grown counterpart.
Removal of shoots.
Branch that has grown too long.
Traditional display area for bonsai trees inside Japanese houses.
The technique of air-layering a bonsai tree.
A tree created by air-layering technique.
Bonsai keepers commonly refer to ‘trees’, rather than bonsai.
The technique of grafting a bonsai tree.
The sub-division of ‘species’, i.e. Acer Palmatum KATSURA (see also ‘Genus’, ‘Species’).
Area below cambium in the trunk, the woody part of plants.
Refers to trees collected from nature for use as bonsai.
Group planting of several trees in flat dish to give appearance of a forest.