Definition of bonsai
: a potted plant (as a tree) dwarfed (as by pruning) and trained to an artistic shape; also : the art of growing such a plant
Did You Know?
This is a living dwarf tree. The word bonsai can also refer to the art of training and growing these dwarf plants in containers. Bonsai specimens are ordinary trees and shrubs, not hereditary dwarfs; they are dwarfed by a system of pruning roots and branches and training branches by tying them with wire. The art originated in China, but has been pursued and developed primarily by the Japanese. The inspiration for bonsai is found in nature, in trees that grow in harsh, rocky places, and are dwarfed and gnarled throughout their existence. Bonsai may live for a century or more and can be handed down from one generation to another. Bonsai pots, usually earthenware and of variable shape, are carefully chosen to harmonize in color and proportion with the tree. A sizable bonsai industry exists as part of the nursery industry in Japan. California is home to a small-scale bonsai industry.
Origin and Etymology of bonsai
Japanese, literally, tray planting
First Known Use: 1900
BONSAI Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of bonsai for English Language Learners
: a very small tree or bush that is grown in a pot by using special methods to control its growth
: the art of growing bonsai
Learn More about bonsai
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about bonsai
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