BONSAI WORLD A series of articles by The Shikoku Shimbun focuses on the attractions of bonsai which encapsulate small universes in containers.

Goyomatsu (Japanese white pine)(1)Attractiveness and Character with elegance of 'Queen'

March 1, 2010

Because of the short needle and beauty of the tree form, it is also called ''Himekomatsu.'' Other pine trees have two needles but Goyomatsu has five needles. It is the Japanese specialty tree and large tree's height is over 118 inches (30meters). Goyomatsu is popular among the pine trees because of its strength, the various forms, and its simplicity for taking care. Compared with Koromatsu considered as the King of Bonsai, Goyomatsu has elegance like a Queen of bonsai.

the unique short silver needles of Ginyatsu
the unique short silver needles of Ginyatsu


Most of the Goyomatsu grown in Kokubunji and Kinashi town is called 'Ginyatsu' or 'Ginyatsufusa' named after its silver needles and many sprout. The beautiful short needles are also characteristic of it.

Yoshimi Kobayakawa, 58 years old, of Sojuen Bonsai Garden in Kokubunji town, has been working only for Ginyatsu for about 40 years. Kobayakawa said, "However Ginyatsu can be grown only by Tsugiki (grafting), it has good Hasho (leaf features). It has firm and sharp silver leaves. Once the young tree has been formed, it keeps the shape unlike Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine). Compared with other pine trees, bonsai growers can save their time for watering and fertilization. In addition, people can enjoy various types of form like Chokkan, Moyogi, Bunjingi, Ishitsuki, and Kengai. It is easy to take care for everyone."

Throughout the year, bonsai growers take care of the Goyomatsu. They thin out the leaves, wire the bonsai, dig bonsai from the field, and plant tentatively in the winter. In the spring, they normally graft it on biennial Kuromatsu (Japanese black pine) and put into the pot. In the summer, they cut old leaves for the shipment in the fall.

Yoshimi Kobayakawa takes care of Ginyatsu Goyomatsu at Sojuen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town
Yoshimi Kobayakawa takes care of Ginyatsu Goyomatsu at Sojuen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kokubunji town

Risk from global warming

  Goyomatsu is the alpine pine tree known as 'Ishizuchi Goyo', 'Akaishi Goyo' and trees grown in Kamegamori and the tree has resistance to cold but it is sensitive to heat. Therefore it is important to thin out the needles carefully for having good ventilation.

Kobayakawa said "In the hot summer like recent years, the needles sometimes fall down by the beating sun. I wonder if it is because of the global warming. It is hard to survive the hot summer."
(By Shigeo Hano)
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