What kind of trees are these?

Started by TheBadger, September 16, 2014, 02:08:46 am

Previous topic - Next topic



So this is bonsai I know. But these trees here have that sort of quintessential far Eastern feel. SO regardless of the size, what tree are they. And are there any examples of this sort tree looking as cool large as they do as bonsai?

Sorry the image is kinda small. But I think its good enough to show.

If I remember right bonsai is Japanese for little tree. But the image in the link also fits for lots of Chinese imagery that I have seen. IS there a tree in china that looks like this?

Im interested in a tree from China that looks like the link. But I think anything like it may work. Just need some species to look into.

Thanks if you have some ideas.
It has been eaten.


Take a look at XFrog's Bonsai collection.  They come with pots but I guess these could be removed.


The trees in your image could well be Temple Juniper, Scots Pine or Japanese White Plum.

My mother grows Bonsai, basically any tree can be made (forced) into a dwarfed shape, simply restrict its root space and control it's water and growth shape with wire.

Ryzen 9 3900X @3.79Ghz, 64Gb (TG4 benchmark 6:20)
i7 5930K @3.5Ghz, 32Gb (TG4 benchmark 13.44)


Ahh yes! thank you. That really helps :) there are some great examples in the xfog library you posted.
I think that I could not simply enlarge them though. It looks like the leaves are to the scale of the Bonsai, so would be gigantic leaves when the tree was scaled to a full size... I'm guessing.

Probably I want to try and make one. the Temple Juniper is a fine species for what I want by the looks in your link. Thanks again.
It has been eaten.


You're right about not being able to enlarge them without having huge single leaves.
Two options:
Get XFrog and you can remodel any of their plants and scale the leaves appropriately.
Use the existing leaves and redo the leaf texture so each single leaf image becomes a multiple leaf frond. (make sure you create a matching alpha channel as you go.

Ryzen 9 3900X @3.79Ghz, 64Gb (TG4 benchmark 6:20)
i7 5930K @3.5Ghz, 32Gb (TG4 benchmark 13.44)


By chance do you know where I can find photos of real rocks like in the OP link?

As I understad it both Japanese and Chinese traditional art look to nature for their rules and inspiration. So, I think there are giant rocks just like in the image some place. I would very much like to learn the locations of such rocks! Then I should be able to find tons of reference photos on flicker and google.
It has been eaten.


September 17, 2014, 09:39:01 am #5 Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 07:19:03 pm by PabloMack
At first glance I guessed it to be some kind of juniper. Comparing the XFrog "temple juniper" with other actual photos of real temple juniper, the XFrog version looks to me more like a pine with short needles or a cypress. I have Aljos Farjon's "A Natural History of Conifers". It isn't comprehensive in species coverage but it does a good job at evolutionary history and natural history which are what I was most interested in. I couldn't bring myself to spend $180 on his tome "An Atlas of the World's Conifers: An Analysis of Their Distribution, Biogeography, Diversity, and Conservation Status". Reading in the book I have says "This species [Platycladus orientalis] and Juniperus chinensis are the two most commonly planted large conifer trees on temple grounds and around palaces [in China]-a good example is the Forbidden City in Beijing". As for bonsai, Farjon's book says that it is practiced in Japan, China and Korea. So it wouldn't surprise me if the Chinese used the two species above for this kind of cultivation.




And what do you think about the rock?
It has been eaten.


September 17, 2014, 07:22:43 pm #7 Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 07:33:14 pm by PabloMack
Quote from: TheBadger on September 17, 2014, 03:15:36 pmNice! And what do you think about the rock?

The shapes and even the color reminds me of the stone forest of Madagascar. Look on the left side of the lower edge of the photo in this article:

They are not an exact match, as the ones in the Bonsai photo look somewhat (and even artificially) tiered.  This is no wonder since the pieces were almost certainly hand-positioned and probably glued in place (if they are rock) for visual effect. Such formations in nature would probably not be very stable under millennia of erosion.

On the other hand, it may not be rock at all but wood which often bleaches out to this gray color when exposed to the sun for years. That was actually my first impression.


Rocks --- Search for Wulingyuan moutains of China.


September 18, 2014, 03:27:06 pm #9 Last Edit: September 18, 2014, 03:38:45 pm by TheBadger
^^ Yeah, I have spent a good amount of time trying to get good satellite data of that location. The best I have been able to find is 1 arc second though. Which is not helpful because at that detail level the spires don't show up at all. I can't even find commercial data, but even if I could it would probably cost too much for me.

I did find some data for Madagascar that is pretty good. But not for the part Pablo linked. The same problem as the park in China. The towers are too close together, too tall and to slim to get good results in TG from a DEM. Again thats 1 arc second.

I read about penjing, which is the Chinese idealization of nature. The notion of idealization leads me to doubt that I will find real rock formations like those found in Bonsai.  :-[ Still, I suspect that there is something very close out there. Penjing is taken from nature, not made up out of thin air. So there has to be something real like you see in really fine Chinese Bonsai. I'll keep looking for a while.

AHHHH http://www.happybonsai.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/rock-bonsai-garden-tour-01.jpg
Looks like these rocks were moved. They look sorta volcanic. Perhaps sea eroded. Its a clue  ;D

http://kevinjames.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/suzhou_lion-garden_rocks.jpg !!

Not sure if this is even real stone? http://meromtzion.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/china-2012-376.jpg

Come to think of it, TG is sorta like Bonsai, even more so then other 3D soft, since its starting place is real world rules.
It has been eaten.


OK, found out.

So Penjing is not just a word for a philosophy, but is also the word for the art, like Bonsai. But penjing predates bonzie significantly. And acording to what I read they are pretty hard to tell apart for most people. Also they are both always changing.

About the rocks.
They use everything that they find in nature that has the kind of beauty that the (tree sculpter?) prefers. There are rules to it. But one thing I thought was funny was how its very preferable to find natural stone that looks like recognisable shapes, such as humans and animals. Which reminded me of that thread here where people were seeing faces in their renders  ;D So not just schizophrenic but Penjing!

In some cases acid is used to shape rocks, like limestone I guess. But this seems in conflict with with Penjing. Apparently this is how the rocks may be made that you can buy on-line such as this http://www.bonsaiboy.com/catalog/product397.html Im lead to understand that this is not real Penjing or Bonsai.

Anyway, there is a word for the rocks that are used. Suiseki.
And from this word it is possible to find all kinds of inspiration for modeling stones and rock faces. So that was fun. ;D Lots of inspiration for me in TG now. Sadly, it all looks really hard to make  :P

Dont really want to go out and make a little tree. But I think this is great inspiration for TG and 3d sculpting/object making.
I think someone else recently brought this topic up in the forums for using in TG. I don't remember what was said or who posted it though. If that person is reading this, Please post some work you did for TG based on Bonsai! Would love to see it now.

Thanks guys.
It has been eaten.


September 19, 2014, 09:45:54 am #11 Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 12:02:50 pm by PabloMack
Quote from: TheBadger on September 19, 2014, 06:25:26 amThey use everything that they find in nature that has the kind of beauty that the (tree sculpter?) prefers.

Sadly, respect and "use" are frequently at odds when it comes to nature. I was on a paleontology field trip (I think it was the Las Vegas meeting of the SVP) and had the pleasure to meet an ethnic Chinese guy who had grown up in the Perth area of Australia. I had to look at him to get the Chinese connection because, listening to him speak, he was in every way "Western" and could have been an ultra-modern American given the proper accent. He told me how he was participating in a dig in northwestern China. He was interested in the herps (reptiles and amphibians) of the area and visited the local book stores. The only books he could find on the subject were in the food section! This Chinese/Australian guy says that the extent to which Chinese are willing to go to preserve endangered species is to save the Greater Panda. That's it! They're done! Nothing more than that. Nothing else matters in the opinion of the mass media or in the minds of the average Chinese citizen. The Chinese might give a lot of lip service to having respect for nature but "they eat everything" (as is often said) and have little respect for nature in my opinion. A garden is a poor substitute for wilderness. Everyone should experience a true wilderness, untouched for thousands if not millions of years. There is nothing else like them. If you want to see a real one visit the Tapanti in Costa Rica or Baja California.


September 19, 2014, 02:37:49 pm #12 Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 02:41:59 pm by TheBadger
QuoteA garden is a poor substitute for wilderness

The garden is called Eden in western Art, before that it had other names but was just the same. Its functionally the same in classical Chinese art. Idealization is always connected to the Devine in classicism regardless of east vs west. Its just the stories are different and the implementation of ideals is different. Regardless of what words or names are used to say divine.

So whether the stone is found to be "perfect" in nature, naturally (whatever we mean by nature or natural), or if it was made so by human hands, it is a pursuit of the divine world. But like in the west, in modernity, art in all of its forms is now almost entirely consumed by the pursuit of aesthetics alone. Which is what you just described, in my opinion, when you said a garden is a poor substitute for wilderness. That is, aesthetics, or the appearance of a thing but lacking its purpose or meaning. A thing for its own sake (art for arts sake). So the wilderness is a garden that has lost its meaning and purpose, but so has the garden. Penjing is one way some people a long time ago tried to address that. What it means today, is whatever people say it means.

In classic art, the wilderness is the ruin of the garden. The garden represents the *perfection* of all nature as it was *created* (no one in the ancient world believed in evolution). Everything else you said is a conversation about communism (A thing for its own sake regardless of what was intended on paper) as far as I am concerned.
And certainly I would argue, all of chinas problems are the fault of communism and the uphevles that lead to communism there. Really, everything you just wrote about china describes the nature of communisim perfectly. Of course the people will reflect that in how they inhabit their space.. Communism consumes everything for its own sake. Some people say the same of capitalism. Some say the same of all religion for that mater, but in that case they have just made the state into god, and thus will do the same for them selves. Just look at environmentalism, the arguments for it are all inherently selfish. Georg Carlin had a very funny but insightful rant on this that someone posted in these forums a while ago.

Anyway, ideals are difficult things. No one to my knowledge has ever lived up to the greater ones. Which is kinda the point too.  I like learning about them
I believe its worth thinking about them.

Now Im sure everyone is as tired of me as I am, so I'll quit now.
It has been eaten.


I'd been a bonsai (small 'b' according to the Japanese) hobbyist for about 11 years from the 70s through the 80s until I moved to Arizona. Couldn't get my collection through the agricultural inspection check point at the border and had to sell and give away my plants.

By your photo which is small, I couldn't tell if the plant was Juniper or small leaf elm. I had the opportunity to participate in two 3-day workshops with the then bonsai master 'John Yoshio Naka', who lived in southern California. He passed away a few years ago. I have his handbook which could be very useful for plant modeling. John sold one of his creations to 'Red Skelton' which was a Juniper forest planted in a large, shallow bonsai container. I tried replicating it which took me months of finding the right Juniper; then, many hours of pruning and wiring the five trees making ready for the transplanting into the bonsai pot.

It took two persons to pick this planting up and get it into my van. It was sad to have to sell it later when I moved. 


I think it is quite beautiful Bob! I really love these little trees.

And I always thought, you know, tress don't often look like this in nature. Sometimes, but its rather rare to find trees in nature that have so much personality as those we see in this art. I always wondered if you could take a little tree and transplant it to larger and larger pots. Until eventually it became full size while keeping all of the personality and detail of the bonsai?

It has been eaten.