Japanese Snow Pine - P. parviflora "Tani-mano-uki"

grouper52

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The area where I've lived the past four years is the world headquarters for decrepit little old nurseries that started as mom and pop or landscapers businesses years ago and are now being squeezed out by the big boys and chains. It has been a real pre-bonsai windfall for me - these places are awash in old neglected trees, often raised graftless from seeds or cuttings from odd little stock that no one else has, and so old the price tags have fallen off and the owners just let them go for a song.

So my wife's niece is visiting from out of country, and we're driving around yesterday sightseeing, and we drive by one of these nurseries, now moribund and having a close out sale for two days. Most of the stuff that's left is dead, or of no interest to me, but there's this pine that catches my eye. Looks a little like a bristlecone with long bushy internodes, but much prettier.

The owner is out on a landscape job, and the clueless dude he left to help out any customers, of which I seem to be the only one to happen by all day, he knows nothing, but he's kind enough to call the owner on his cell. Turns out he says it's a Japanese Snow Pine, says he's raised it from seed or seedling for 30 years in its current pot (doesn't look like 30 years of nodes!), and he'll let it go for $75. Seems like a good deal to me - healthy in this climate, non-grafted, back-budding all over the trunk and branches like crazy, good starter material, IMO, for a classic literati if trained properly for a decade. It's about 5' tall, 3" trunk.

I can find little on the web to confirm that this is indeed such a tree, and if any of you know I'd appreciate an identification, and any tips that might make its care or styling different from other JWPs. I would chop it next season anyway and start developing a literati style slowly, but instead of a straight chop I think I will try to save the upper third with an air layer attempt. Any thoughts about all this? TIA.

grouper52
 

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rlist

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Looks like bristlecone foliage from the pics.

Here is a link that I found, with picture: http://www.bluesterling.com/parviflora tani mano uki.htm . It also says; "Pinus parviflora 'Tani Mano Uki' is an extremely rare variety of the Japanese White Pine that has variegated foliage."

In reality, which is it closer to???
 
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grouper52

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I agree, Rich. The info I could find on the web about the snow pines didn't seem to fit either. And yet, if I compare it to my own bristlecone the foliage really looks much different, overall appearance much more lush and full, a much more straight green or slightly yellow green rather than bluish green color, and the individual needles are much thicker, firmer, well-defined and more shapely. I've heard that there are two types of bristlecone - maybe this is the other sort, but it looks much different than the type I have on closer inspection, certainly a much more attractive tree, foliage-wise. If it is a bristlecone, it's a pretty one compared to all the others I've seen, but only a slight bargain, of course. :mad:
 

Martin Sweeney

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grouper52,

When I first looked at this thread and the pictures you posted, I thought Japanese white pine(and missed the variety name). I am certainly no expert on them, and only own a tiny grafted(on JBP) one a friend grafted for me.

As luck would have it, 10 small grafted(on JWP from what I understand) Tani-mano-uki the same friend wants me to plant out in my growing beds for a few years have been sitting in my back yard for about 18 months (I really need to get them planted this spring....). They have variegated foliage, some of the needles (or part of a needle) will be all white. I guess that this is where the snow pine common name comes from. My friend says they are supposed to be more shade tolerant than most pines. This is why he wants me to grow them, I have a very shady yard. They have done well here in North Carolina, but I haven't done any training, so that could change...

He paid $27 a piece for them, if memory serves. I would say you got a very good deal at $75. His are minute compared to yours and yours looks to a worthwhile subject. I am interested to see what you do with it.

For what it is worth, the ones I have seen seem to be the same plant as in your picture.

Regards,
Martin
 

grouper52

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That's very interesting and encouraging news, Martin. I appreciate the input. I like the looks of the tree a great deal, and independent of the name attached to it I think it wil be attractive, but of course one would be more proud to call it by a name with a long and honored place in bonsai. As I said above, if it's a bristlecone then it's an unusually pretty one, much different than the ones I've seen before.

Do you have any explanation why the foliage on mine, which you say looks the same as yours, is not really variegated like the picture Rich posted and like you describe on yours?

hanks again.

grouper52/Will
 

rlist

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Do you have any explanation why the foliage on mine, which you say looks the same as yours, is not really variegated like the picture Rich posted and like you describe on yours? QUOTE]

With the prospect of someone calling me a Dee Dee Dee... On second look, with a look at my bristlecone, it really doesn't look quite like it. What threw me was the little white flecks that show on a couple of the new shoots.

While at it, can someone explain these and more directly, the white flecks on bristlecone???

Your humble Dee Dee Dee...
 

darrellw

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While at it, can someone explain these and more directly, the white flecks on bristlecone???

On a bristlecone, these are bits of resin. Apparently the resin moves up tubes in the needles. Don't know about white pines.

-Darrell
 

Martin Sweeney

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grouper52,

Perhaps I should restate what I was attempting to say. From what I know of this particular variety, I would guess that your tree is a Pinus parvifolia, and see no reason why it might not be a Tani-mano-uki. The close up shot appeared to show a white cast to the needles, if not true variagation. Perhaps I was seeing what I wanted to see! I was not trying to give a definitive identification, but was trying to say I could be persuaded that the plant is a Tani-mano-uki.

Perhaps yours was grown in full sun prior to acquisition and the sun bleached it out? Perhaps yours is reverting to regular Pinus parvifolia, or came from a parent plant with weaker coloring? You said the grower called it a seedling. Perhaps the seedling is not true to it's parent? Those are the only reasons I can think of, but I am not an expert.

Regardless of all the above, I think yours is an attractive tree and you should be able to style a nice bonsai out of it. If that doesn't happen, I am sure it would be an attractive landscape plant for you. I really do hope to see what you make of it.

Regards,
Martin
 

grouper52

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Thanks again, Rich. Like I said, my first impression from a short distance away was a bristlecone, but a very elegant one. Up closer, it didn't seem to be one.

Martin, thanks again for the further explanation and encouragement. As far as it being a yard/landscaping tree, I think it would be a handsome one, but I prefer to attempt a bonsai with it - what's funny is that my wife often likes the trees I bring home to bonsai and wants them for the yard. I loose the battle about half the time. I was determined to win this time, but she didn't like it, so there was no battle to win! The trick will be to start irreversible work on it before it grows on her and she changes her mind! :D

Thanks again.

grouper52
 

tom tynan

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Hey Rich...The white flecks on your bristlecone are a form of resin or pitch that seems to collect on the needles at certain times of year [later in the year, ie. fall if I remember correctly]. It does make a somewhat unsightly appearance - but does not seem to last too long.

It would be interesting to find out if a true wild bristlecone pine in the mountains produces this affect as well. When I brought my small bristlecone to a Walter Pall workshop last year in Pennsylvania - we discussed bristlecones a bit - he mentioned that the exuding pitch from the needles was a negative from his viewpoint....

Regards and best wishes from NY...Tom
 

Vance Wood

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I agree, Rich. The info I could find on the web about the snow pines didn't seem to fit either. And yet, if I compare it to my own bristlecone the foliage really looks much different, overall appearance much more lush and full, a much more straight green or slightly yellow green rather than bluish green color, and the individual needles are much thicker, firmer, well-defined and more shapely. I've heard that there are two types of bristlecone - maybe this is the other sort, but it looks much different than the type I have on closer inspection, certainly a much more attractive tree, foliage-wise. If it is a bristlecone, it's a pretty one compared to all the others I've seen, but only a slight bargain, of course. :mad:

You guys have to understand that it is impossible to raise a named cultivar from seed and have the prodgeney be exactly like the named plant. This is the reason named cultivars are always grafted. It is possible that this tree was grown from seed from the above mentioned Pine but it could be entirely different from the parent in appearance and growing habits. So---what you have here, if it truly is a Parviflora, is a very nice new cultivar of J. W. Pine that deserves being cultivated and grown on. Again, even if it does not look like the named parent source it does not mean it did not originate there, and in this case the off spring is better than the parent plant.
 

grouper52

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Fascinating information, Vance. I don't know that aspect of horticulture, and find it fascinating. I'll have to check with Brent or someone else locally who might know how to graft this. Independent of its name, I think the foliage on this tree is quite attractive, and although I don't know much about all the JWPs that there are, I've not seen one that looks like this before, so maybe it is unique. It would be interesting to see how well it would grow grafted onto JBP stock. If it turns out to be something special, I will suggest it be called P. parviflora "vancewoodsiana" or some such in honor of your having suggested I look into this. Thanks.

grouper52
 

Graydon

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Could it be cutting grown? I have no idea if this species of pine can be grown from a cutting. I'm sure Brent will see this and give his input.
 

Vance Wood

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Fascinating information, Vance. I don't know that aspect of horticulture, and find it fascinating. I'll have to check with Brent or someone else locally who might know how to graft this. Independent of its name, I think the foliage on this tree is quite attractive, and although I don't know much about all the JWPs that there are, I've not seen one that looks like this before, so maybe it is unique. It would be interesting to see how well it would grow grafted onto JBP stock. If it turns out to be something special, I will suggest it be called P. parviflora "vancewoodsiana" or some such in honor of your having suggested I look into this. Thanks.

grouper52

Thank you very much, that's very flattering.

As to growing from cuttings. No one will know until someone gives it a try. I know Zuishio grows well from cuttings but that does not mean this will, most pines do not.
 

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