Species Specific > White Pine Bonsai Discussion

Pinus parviflora 'Ibo-con' (Wart Bark)

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Good Morning All,

Anyone out there have any comments on this variety of Japanese Five-Needle Pines. I am thinking about buying one?

Thanks & Regards,


I have no information on this variety, but look forward to seeing pictures when you bring it home.  :)


--- Quote from: JRob on July 10, 2010, 08:39 AM ---Good Morning All,

Anyone out there have any comments on this variety of Japanese Five-Needle Pines. I am thinking about buying one?

Thanks & Regards,


--- End quote ---

I have never kept one myself but a good friend has had a very large one for more than a decade now.  In general, it seems to be a pretty good cultivar...his is probably 2.5-3' tall and nearly 4' wide and heavily trunked.  I do have opinions about a couple of the characteristics...the mature bark doesn't look anything like the JBP to which it is grafted...not a terrible thing but it is noticeable.  In my opinion the needles are very long for JWP...pushing 3" or more and can be kind of floppy...like Eastern White Pine. However, they also have a very nice subtle blue color.  From what I know about this cultivar, I probably wouldn't hesitate to purchase one in a large size but I know you like shohin...I might need to be convinced that it is a good candidate for a small tree.  I hope this was helpful and not too late:)


William N. Valavanis:
I am familiar with Wart bark Japanese five-needle pine, Pinus parviflora 'IBO-KAN', since I introduced it to the United States in the early 1970's. It has rather long, curved needles which are deep blue, when grown correctly and is happy. If not, the curved needles are yellow-green.

The bark is rather distinctive and has small bumps, which look like warts. In Japan this cultivar is grafted on to Japanese black pine with rough bark of a totally different character, and the two do not look good when combined. That's why it is important to get an extremely low grafted specimen so you will not see the graft union. In the United States I believe this cultivar is probably grafted on to Eastern White Pine, which also has a different, rather smooth bark characteristic, so better select your specimen carefully if you want to train a good bonsai for the future. It would be a shame to spend 10, 15 or 20 years to develop a great looking bonsai when at that time the bark differences in the graft union begin to bother you since you will probably have a more refined taste by then.

It's an easy cultivar to grow and the bark begins to show the small warts about the second or third year after grafting. I've never heard of anyone air layering Wart Bark Japanese Five-needle Pine to eliminate the graft union, which does not mean that it cannot be done. I don't think this cultivar with the long curved needles is suitable for small or shohin bonsai. I keep mentioning curved, because curved or twisted needles of any species are NOT good for bonsai. When the foliage reduces, and it will, the twist often intensifies and looks interesting, but nothing like what a pine needles is supposed to look like.

Hope this helps.


Good Evening Bill,

Thanks for the reply. I was hoping you would comment since I was aware of your history with the variety. Shimsuki and I have been reading your book on white pines. The copy was lent to us by Brian at Cass Bonsai Gardens. I appreciate you taking to share your thoughts and insight.

Kindest Regards,


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