Myths, Misconceptions, and Trivia

ColinFraser

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Hey Nuts, I’m thinking about putting together a little presentation full of interesting (to Bonsai people) trivia and tidbits, and I though you might be up for helping out. ;)

If you’ve got cool Bonsai facts, common misconceptions, clarifications, etc. please share them in this thread - it could turn into a fun resource around here too . . .

Cheers
 

ColinFraser

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For example, there’s no such thing as a tree!
It’s a useful term in colloquial speech, but biologically there seems to be no clear distinction between a tree and a shrub - woody perennials with a single trunk are more likely to be called trees, and those with multiple stems/trunks are more likely to be called shrubs, but there’s tons of overlap and grey area . . .

Of course, as Bonsai people, we turn shrubs into trees all the time!
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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For example, there’s no such thing as a tree!
It’s a useful term in colloquial speech, but biologically there seems to be no clear distinction between a tree and a shrub - woody perennials with a single trunk are more likely to be called trees, and those with multiple stems/trunks are more likely to be called shrubs, but there’s tons of overlap and grey area . . .

Of course, as Bonsai people, we turn shrubs into trees all the time!
Hi ColinFraser,
How about the common misconception that Bonsais only grow indoors.
Or that Mother nature’s soil is in fact very good to use in pots.
Or the arrogant myth that bonsai is only practised by artists and that Horticulture techniques are a bonus.
Yet the most common problem on this site is over-watering due to inexperienced people not able to read a tree’s rhythm.
Charles
 

Bonsai Nut

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The seed of the American horse-chestnut tree is called a buckeye... because of its resemblance to the eye of a male deer :) Ohio is called the "buckeye state" because of the large numbers of these trees. No one knows why they were named horse chestnuts... the seeds are actually toxic to horses.
 
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Bonsai Nut

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Willows belong to the genus Salix. All willows have watery sap that is natually high in salicytic acid - the main component of aspirin. As early as the 6th Century B.C., Hippocrates wrote about how willow bark and leaves relieved pain and fevers, and for centuries native Americans used to chew willow bark to alleviate pain. It wasn't until the late 1890s that chemist Felix Hoffmann at Bayer in Germany created a buffered powder in the form of acetylsalicylic acid that modern day aspirin tablets were born.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Tsuga canadensis, also known as eastern hemlock, is the state tree of Pennsylvania. It actually isn't a hemlock at all... it is a spruce tree. It was given the name "hemlock" because its needles, when crushed, give off an odor similar to poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) a completely unrelated (and highly toxic) herbaceous flowering plant.
 

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California is one of two states to have two state trees. In 1937 the state legislature chose "redwood" as the state tree... which refers somewhat indistinctly to both the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and the Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum). (The tallest and the largest tree species in the world).

The other state to have two state trees is Nevada... which started with the single-leaf Pinyon pine (Pinus monophylla) in 1959, but who added the Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva) in 1987 after it was discovered that a member of this species is the oldest-living non-clonal creature on the planet (at 5,067 years of age).

The only state not to have a state tree species is North Carolina. They have a state tree genus - pinus.
 
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AlainK

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Thanks for the link, learned a couple of things.

It wasn't until the late 1890s that chemist Felix Hoffmann at Bayer in Germany created a buffered powder in the form of acetylsalicylic acid that modern day aspirin tablets were born.
... and noticed that Spirea contained a higher concentration of salicylic acid, so since they worked with Spirea, they called it aspirin.

"Willow water" has long been used as "natural hormones" for cuttings. See:
http://bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATwillow water.html
 

AlainK

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Thanks "Bonsai Nut Administrator" .

Very interesting trivia. We don't have "sate trees", of course we're not a federal country but a very centralized one.

Even in each region, it would be difficult to choose one.

The eco-systems here are much smaller and very diverse: in the south-east part of France, around the Mediterranean sea, it's the country of olive trees and cork-bark oaks, but 30 or 40 miles inland, there are mountains with different trees and snow in the winter whereas on the coast, people associate the "French Riviera" (la Côte d'Azur") with "Mimosa" (Acacia dealbata". There's even a very popular holiday resort town called "Bormes-les-Mimosa".

It's actually an invasive species originated from Australia and Tasmania that was introduced in the mid-19th century!

Here (not in my "region", but in my small town and around, it would perhaps be "Juglans regia", the walnut tree:

The soil here is calcareous. People would take limestone to build houses (that's why the "Loire chateaux" are white), and then, fill in the hole in the groung throwing a couple of walnuts on top. A few years later, the trees would give them nuts that are a good source of nutrients. It was also a way to prevent the soil from collapsing thanks to the roots. There are regularly houses that are endangered because of cavities in the ground, especially after aperiod of drought followed by heavy rain.

There are also still some "Arbres de la Liberté" that were planted during the French Revolution (maybe some too in the US, because it was a powerful, meaningful symbol in the Enlightment):

Oaks, Lime trees/ Linden, trees that last a long time:

https://krapooarboricole.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/arbre-de-la-liberte/
 
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Starfox

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Wasn't that the place that had a huge fire earlier in the year?

But yeah, what most people call a Mimosa is not in fact a Mimosa, this bugs me. And fun fact what lots of people call an Acacia is actually a Vachellia but this is mainly because Aussie botanists don't want to call their Acacia a Racosperma which would just be silly. It was also widely introduced to Europe for perfume making and is still widely used in the industry.
Think it is a banned species(dealbata) here in Spain now but you can still buy them.

Also the myth that only tropicals can be worked on in summer, true there are plenty that you probably shouldn't but there are plenty that you can too.
 

Victorim

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" A router bit will get the job done, as long as I take it slow and careful"

..well I fluffed at the last few seconds. It bit hard, jumped, and chewed off what was my new leader. Was so annoyed. Nibbler in the post..
 

CasAH

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Wasn't that the place that had a huge fire earlier in the year?

But yeah, what most people call a Mimosa is not in fact a Mimosa, this bugs me. And fun fact what lots of people call an Acacia is actually a Vachellia but this is mainly because Aussie botanists don't want to call their Acacia a Racosperma which would just be silly. It was also widely introduced to Europe for perfume making and is still widely used in the industry.
Think it is a banned species(dealbata) here in Spain now but you can still buy them.

Also the myth that only tropicals can be worked on in summer, true there are plenty that you probably shouldn't but there are plenty that you can too.
So true. Mimosas are a brunch drink made of Champaigne and orange juice.
 

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Copper wire will kill azaleas.
You must remove the flowers from your azaleas because they consume too much energy, and if you remove them, that energy will automatically be redirected to foliar growth.
The best time to repot azaleas is after flowering.
Bald Cypress don't like to be grown in water.
Cypress knees are folded up roots.
Serissa is finicky and hard to grow.
 
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