Buddhist PineJun 14th, 2011 | By Sandy | Category: Bonsai Trees, Featured Articles
Podocarpus macrophyllus is one of the first few bonsai tree species that I learned about when I first put my feet in the bonsai world. Podocarpus macrophyllus is native to China and Japan. While the tree is called Kasamaki or Inumaki in Japanese, Podocarpus macrophyllus is also commonly called as Buddhist Pine, a literal translation of the tree’s Chinese name – Luo Han Song (羅漢松).
Leaves, Flowers & Fruits
Buddhist Pine has narrow, elliptical leaves that are stiff in texture and spirally crowded together. The tree’s cone-shaped flowers are unisexual. While male cones are yellowish brown, female are greenish.
The oval-shaped fruit which seated on thick fleshy receptacle turns reddish/purplish when ripened, which looks like a little Buddha meditating with a reddish/purplish rope on.
While Buddhist Pine loves full sun, it can tolerate partial shade, which makes this conifer a nice indoor bonsai tree.
Recent years, there have been many cases of Buddhist Pines being illegally harvested. As China’s economy thrives, the demand of Buddhist Pine, which is viewed as a lucky charm, rises. A single Buddhist Pine can fetch up to HKD $100,000 (around USD $13,000). The high profits from illegal tree-harvesting have attracted many illegal mainlanders to come to Hong Kong, dig out and smuggle the trees back to China.