BaronOsiris
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Beginner Need with Bonsai identification

I just received a bonsai tree as a gift from my wonderful girlfriend. It was purchased from a grocery store. This tree came with a small card on it that identifies it as a Bonsai (Indoor). There are some instructions on it that seem fairly general. Nowhere on the card does it identify the type or species of the tree.

The tree seems to be in great condition. After talking with a friend who is a bonsai enthusiast and consulting photos in books and on the internet I think I have it narrowed down to a Ficus.

I was hoping someone could help me confirm that is a ficus and narrow down the type of ficus. I have not pruned it yet so I do not know if it secretes a milky substance. I have had it for about 3 weeks and it has grown quite a bit outwards. It's only a quarter of an inch taller, but it has sprouted new growth everywhere. It really seems to be bushing out nicely.

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[url=https://img90.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img1218ry0.jpg][img]https://img90.imageshack.us/img90/4854/img1218ry0.th.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://img174.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img1219pn2.jpg][img]https://img174.imageshack.us/img174/7315/img1219pn2.th.jpg[/img][/url]

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ynot
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BaronOsiris wrote: The tree seems to be in great condition. After talking with a friend who is a bonsai enthusiast and consulting photos in books and on the internet I think I have it narrowed down to a Ficus.

I was hoping someone could help me confirm that is a ficus and narrow down the type of ficus.
Welcome Baron,

'Narrow it down'...:shock:

There are over 800 kinds of ficus so that could be a chore, But since you don't have one it is no problem. ;)

This is a Serissa Foetida.

You could confirm this by nipping an end of an inconspicuous branch and seeing that you do not get a sticky white sap.

You may find these two links interesting The first is full of general bonsai tips: https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics.html

This one is about Serissa:
https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Serissa.html

A couple questions for you:

Does the pot have a drainage hole in it?
Has your friend given you some tips on caring for your new charge?

If you have more questions please ask.

Good luck
ynot

BaronOsiris
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I cut off one of the new shoots. There is nothing oozing from the cut but it does look white. As if the center of the shoot has a white core.

When I touch the cut I don't get sap on my fingers or anything. It is a very small shoot so I'm not sure if there would be enough sap to actually ooze out.

The pot does have a drainage hole. My friend has lent me three different bonsai books. So far I have been reading the bonsai survival manual by Colin Lewis.

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Gnome
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Baron,

Hello,
When I touch the cut I don't get sap on my fingers or anything. It is a very small shoot so I'm not sure if there would be enough sap to actually ooze out.
Even small shoots should produce the latex on Ficus.

Look at the next to last photo in your sequence. Notice the very prominent V shaped growth near the top. This growth pattern is atypical of Ficus.

Norm

rjj
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Nice looking little plant with good potential.

The leaf on this plant looks thick and leathery, unlike a serissa and I'm unaware of any ficus with opposing leaves. The bark makes me think some type of tropical cherry. Probably a brush cherry.

https://www.bonsai-bci.com/species/eugenia.html

randy

ynot
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Randy,

Thank you!
I did spend a long time looking a the bark......?
There was something a bit 'off ' about the leaves that I simply could not put my finger on and 'leathery' is a good way to put it. [I did have that in my post and I left it out....D'oh! ]

Having opposite leaves is what ruled out Ficus for me also.

I don't know enough about Brush Cherries to confirm it but they are often available at shops and markets so that is an excellent possibility.

Baron, I should have been more tentative wrt my ID, My apologies.

Nice catch rjj..

ynot

rjj
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Ynot

I might have guessed correctly, but in the grand scheme of things we all gave him enough info that he should be able to make a good assessment of what it really is.

I'm never really sure of anything unless it's sitting in front of me. Then It may be that I'm sure I have no clue. :D

randy

ynot
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rjj wrote:... Then It may be that I'm sure I have no clue. :D
Yeah, I am familiar with that feeling...:lol: :)

constantstaticx3
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I believe i can confirm that it is a brush cherry. I also have one of them and the shiny dark green leaves are the same on mine, the bark is also very smooth lokking. Also, the red stem, that is the new growth, is what really gives it away.

Tom

BaronOsiris
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Thanks everyone for your input. After looking at more pictures of some Brush Cherry Eugenia and further inspecting I agree thats what it is.

I'm so excited!!

Any suggestions on how to proceed with shape and design? I feel that I am somewhat limited given the current design.

I was thinking broom would be the easiest given its current shape. Also I don't want to get too ambitious with my first tree. I want to ease myself into the art of bonsai.

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Gnome
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Baron,

Looking at your tree as it is today I can see the possibility for a broom or a formal upright. There is something I think you need to consider first though. How big of a bonsai are you hoping for? If you begin styling now the tree will not put on a large amount of growth in the future. Same goes for being in a bonsai pot now. It tends to limit growth.

Not that I am saying it needs to become a larger specimen, that is entirely up to you. It has often been said that small bonsai don't become large bonsai. Larger trees are either grown out over a period of time or cut down from larger existing trees. Just something to think about.

Norm

BaronOsiris
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I am thinking I would want it to get to about 16-24 inches tall. I'm thinking an upright style or broom.

So if I want it to grow should I put it in a larger pot so it has room to grow?

Wouldn't I want to start shaping now? Should I wait till its the size I want then start shaping?

The trunk is very sturdy. I'm not sure if I can do any serious shaping with it. Also some of the branches are quite woody. Wouldn't there be bad scarring if I waited to remove them?

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Baron,
I am thinking I would want it to get to about 16-24 inches tall.
I was not referring to height so much as girth.
Also some of the branches are quite woody. Wouldn't there be bad scarring if I waited to remove them?
Yes, possibly but the only way to increase the diameter of the trunk is to allow it to support foliage, this means branches and this in turn means future pruning. This is necessary because by the time the trunk is grown out your current branches will have also grown large and be out of proportion. This is the dilemma when trying to grow a large formal upright. You want girth but not scarring, it's a tough call.
Wouldn't I want to start shaping now?
As I alluded to earlier it really depends on your plans for the future of this tree. If you like it as is then you can start now. If you want it to be a larger specimen then it has to be allowed to grow.
So if I want it to grow should I put it in a larger pot so it has room to grow?
Yes, a pot that allows the roots some room will encourage faster development. This does not mean a huge pot though, as that can lead to other problems.

These are general comments, be aware that I have never grown this species.

Norm

ynot
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BaronOsiris wrote:I am thinking I would want it to get to about 16-24 inches tall. I'm thinking an upright style or broom.
Baron,

What is it's current size?

ynot

BaronOsiris
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Currently its 7 & 3/4 inches. I haven't measured the width of the trunk, but as you can see in the pictures it's fairly small.

All of the books I have don't really cover starting with a store bought tree that is already well on its way. I don't really have a goal yet for design so I'm not sure where to even begin. I'm thinking it would look good as a broom or an upright.

I just don't know if there are any steps I should be taking at the moment to help the design of the tree.

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