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Lion's Head Bonsai


This strikingly beautiful tree in its full fall color is a 'Shishigashira' Japanese maple (Acer palmatum var. 'Shishigashira') that resides at the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum in Saitama Japan. Its estimated age is 120 years. And if you're wondering about the title of this post, Shishigashira is Japanese for 'lion's head' (scroll down to the bottom for more on this tree, including where 'lion's head' comes from)

We can't go too long without circling back to the bonsai of the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, home to some of the best bonsai in the world. We borrowed most of today's photos from Bonsai Master on Facebook, a place that frequently puts up quality photos from Omiya and other Japanese sources.

These three photos are from Omiya's website


Literati style Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora - Goyomatsu in Japanese).  Estimated age is 230 years


Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora - Akamatsu in Japanese). Estimated age 300 years. With bark this heavy and with it being such a venerable tree, a little reverse taper is no big deal


 Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora). Estimated age 150 years. No reverse taper here


Winter silhouette of a broom style Japanese Zelkova (Zelkova serrata - Keyaki in Japanese). Estimated age 120 years. Broom style is common with Zelkova . In fact, I don't know when I last saw one that wasn't broom style


Omiya's Shishigashira again, but cropped for a closer look at the trunk, nebari and main branches

Here's a brief description of the Shishigashira Japanese maple that we borrowed from Mendocino Maple Nursery

"Shishigashira is a very desirable Acer palmatum for small gardens, container culture and bonsai. Shishigashira is a slow growing upright palmatum that has thick bunched-up, curled green leaves that give it a unique appearance. The leafstalks are short and stiff. Shishigashira name means lions head, referring to the shape of the leaf bunches. Fall colors can be stunning golds and oranges turning eventually to crimson. May reach 18 feet tall. Sun/ part shade" 



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