Hawaii-Taiwan Banyan

9 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Hawaii-Taiwan Banyan
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Extending ficus research to Montana!

Fuku-Bonsai has conducted ficus research since the early 1970’s as a independent effort and as a research affiliate of the Harold Lyon Arboretum of the University of Hawaii at Manoa in a project titled: Ficus, An Inspiration for Bonsai for Indoors. At one time the Fuku-Bonsai / Lyon Arboretum Ficus Research Collection included over 100 species and varieties. We corresponded extensively with ficus authorities including Dr. Horace Clay and Ira J. Condit, the author of the definitive work Ficus; the Exotic Species . Three papers were published in the American Bonsai Society Journal .

The incentive for the study was the fact that the ficus family provided the only true trees that were recognized houseplants. We guessed that the King of Bonsai for Indoors would be a ficus and the study attempted to identify ideal species and varieties. But the study wound down when we recognized that ficus generally needed supplemental light as they did not grow well in the light normally available in average homes and offices.

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The Fuku-Bonsai Ficus Collection is already sufficiently large and over the years, we have been reducing the collection, retaining only the most promising specimens. We prefer not to sell them, especially those plants initially given to us as gifts. One such plant is the Hawaii-Taiwan Banyan that was originally a gift from Haruo Papa Kaneshiro.

In the early 1970’s Haruo discovered plump black figs on what was then called Wax Banyan or Round-leaf Taiwan Banyan. Except for knowing it was imported from Taiwan, no one seemed to be able to identify it.

Because of viable seeds, we concluded that it was part of the Ficus microcarpa family that was dominated by the Chinese Banyan (Ficus microcarpa ‘Retusa’). Haruo successfully germinated those seeds and this plant was one of several selected clones.

Other later selected clones from the same hybrid parents include the Kaneshiro Banyan with longer narrower leaves with a blunt point and the Fuku-Bonsai Banyan, which is similar but having red leaf stems and a heavier growth habit.

1. Horticulturally, the Hawaii-Taiwan Banyan is identified as: Ficus microcarpa ‘Taiwaniana ovata’ X Ficus microcarpa ‘Retusa’; a selected hybridized clone. The selection is characterized by attractive heavier waxy leaves that are midway between the Taiwan Banyan and Chinese Banyans with the vigorous growth habit of the Chinese Banyan. The heavier leaf stem predicts it will hold its leaves well indoors.

Leaves are susceptible to Cuban Laurel Thrips which curl the leaves.

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