Bunjin #1: Shore Pine

First up in our tale of two bunjin…this Shore pine (Pinus contorta subsp. contorta) is from Vancouver Island, BC, collected by the eminent and excellent sir Peter Wilson.

The tree was potted this past spring, 2015, in the pot shown, and styled in late winter 2016. We wired nearly every branch and shoot on this Shore pine.


The Shore pine was potted at this rather quirky angle in 2015.


In the winter 2016 we styled it, 19″ / 48 cm. Some of the prime characteristics of good bunjin are seen in this whimsical little pine: Very little trunk taper, excellent bark, a scarcity of branches (also old and with bark), and an awkward and irritatingly individual trunk line. The next post in our massive series on bunjin (a whopping two trees) features a pine that was styled without any wires at all…


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  1. Ray Norris says:

    a very nice little bonsai

  2. Graham says:

    Nicely done, will you try to whiten the Shari and Jin in the future?

  3. Brian says:

    Hi Michael
    I just read an article that said candeling of contorta contorta pinus is the same as jbp. Could you explain the difference if there is one.
    Qualicum Brian

    • crataegus says:

      There is quite a bit of difference between the two. Japanese black pine has a very high energy, so it is considered a multiple-flush pine. Most of your mountain pines are single-flush pines. They only grow once a year. If you decandle one of them, like a ponderosa, limber, lodgepole, or any of the white pines it will just weaken the tree. It will produce buds that will open the next year. In decandling we want the buds to open that year, which only several pines will do, Japanese Black pine being primary, Japanese red pine being another one. So to answer your question, the shore pine and lodgepole pine, same species, different regions, are both not going to respond to decandling very well. Even though shore pine lives on the coast as black pine does, it doesn’t have the same energy.

      • Brian says:

        Hi Michael , Brian here
        Thank you for your info on contorta black pines. I will candle with caution.

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