Common Name: Maple
Species: Acer rubrumRed Maple/Swamp Maple/Scarlet Maple is a common deciduous tree along the eastern cost of the United States. In our area the Red Maple is a wetland tree, growing well in alkaline soil. At Maturity it reaches a height of 50 to 75 feet.  Red maples are oval in shape and are fast grows. The bark is thin and easily damaged.

Foliage: The new leaves are reddish in color, turning gradually green. They are opposite arranged, typically 2-4" long. The Red maple should be grown with a single leader.

Flower/ fruit: In Florida the small red flowers appear from February or March, and signal the beginning of spring. The seeds of Red Maple are popular with squirrels and birds.

Feeding: Fertilize weekly during summer using a balanced fertilizer 10-10-10.

Repotting: Minimum night temperatures low to mid 40°F. Red maples like to have more root, therefore a larger than normal pot is advisable.

Prune/Training: To encourage leaf reduction and ramification the maple can be defoliated several times during summer. Remember to leave the petiole. Maples can be wired, but be careful the bark scares easily. Pruning is the primary means of shaping. Trim new growth by allowing one or two nodes to grow, then pinching back to one. The more frequent and severe the pinching, the shorter the distance between leaves and new branches.?

Soil: Soil must be water retentive. Too much acid will cause leaf yellowing. PH 6.0-7. Some organic material is suggested.

Propagation: From seeds, cuttings or collected from the wild.

Insect/Disease: Borers, gall mites as well as aphids are possible. For treatment use a systemic or mild insecticidal foliage spray.

Watering: Red maples love moisture in well draining soil.

Light: Full sun to part shade.

Styles: The Red Maple grows naturally upright, therefore suitable as formal or informal upright and very popular as forest plantings.

Temperature: Protect below 40°F.





Common Name: Parson’s Juniper

Species:Juniperus davurica, Juniperus prostrata
This ground hugging evergreen shrub can cover a 3’ by 3’ area and get as tall as 3’ in 2-3 growing seasons. There are 2 other cultivars:  J.’ Expansa  Ariegata, which is mottled with golden splashes, and ‘Expansa Variegata’ which has creamy white variegated foliage. The Juniper family is native to Asia, Siberia and possibly Japan. Because of its salt tolerance Parsonii is ideal for seaside locations.

Foliage: Young leaves are like tiny scales that are held closely against the twigs. Older leaves are prickly needles 0.5” (1.3cm) long. The foliage is bluish-green and has a soft texture. 

Fertilizer: Use a balanced fertilizer 20-20-20 or time release pellets.

Prune/Training: Parsonii takes well to pruning, back budding is excellent. May be wired in the accepted method of training, especially during the colder season. Remove buds growing straight up and underneath the branches.

Repotting: December through February with night temperatures mid to low 50oF, biannually for young trees, every 3-5 years for older trees.  It is best not to remove more than 1/3 of its roots at each repotting.

Soil: Tolerates acidic to slightly alkaline soils. Orchid charcoal can be added to soil mix.

Propagation:  Best propagation is tip cuttings in the winter months and stem layering in early spring.

Insect/ Disease: Parsonii is relatively insect free, however, it is advisable to treat for Spider Mites at least every other month. Use 1 tablespoon Dawn with 16 oz. water. Spray plant top and bottom of all foliage. Allow the soap to work the plant for at least ? hour, then wash soap off plant. 

Watering: Enjoys moist soil, but does not like wet feet. Also enjoys misting of foliage.

Light: Grown in full sun Parsonii will develop fuller/denser foliage, whereas partial shade will result in a thinner foliage mass.

Styles: Informal upright or cascading style

Temperature: Cold hardy, no protection from cold needed in Zone 10.





Common Name: Orange Jasmine (Chinese Box, Satinwood, Mock Orange)

Species:Murraya paniculata- Is a small evergreen tree or shrub belonging to the Rue family. It is native to Southeast Asia, here it is a favorite tree for bonsai. In our zone it is widely used as a hedge because of its dense growth and drought tolerance. 

Foliage: The dark-green, glossy leaves are compound with 3 to 5 leaflets.

Flower/ fruit: The white flower clusters appear throughout the year, providing a beautiful contrast against the dark green leaves.  The other attractive feature of the flowers is its Jasmine scented smell. The small orange to red fruit are attractive to birds.

Feeding: During the growing season this acid loving plant loves to be fertilized with Citrus tree fertilizer every 20 to 30 days. Supplement with iron several times per year. Organic fertilizer is recommended as well as one for acid loving plants.

Repotting: Minimum night temperatures low to mid 60oF. Repot in spring or summer every 2 to 3 years. A glazed not too shallow container should be used.

Soil: Well draining soil with some organic matter added. pH 6.0 to 8.0

Prune/Training: When root pruning do not remove more than 1/3 of its root ball. The top may be heavily pruned. Wiring is best during the winter month when growth is slow. To protect the brittle branches wrap them before wiring.

Propagation: From seeds, cuttings or collected from your garden.

Insect/ Disease: Protect against nematodes (do not put on ground). Scale, white flies and sooty mold can be a problem. Treat with liquid dishwashing soap mixed in water.

Watering: Provide plenty of water during the growing season, moderate watering during winter months.

Light: Full sun to part shade.

Styles:  It naturally forms multiple trunks. Can also be trained as informal upright.

Temperature: Protect below 40°F.


Fact sheet FPS-416: http://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/database/documents/pdf/shrub_fact_sheets/murpana.pdf




Species: (Family: Fabaceae - Pea Family) ​false, or wild tamarind
Latisiliqua (L. Sabicu) – Large weeping, evergreen tree native to the Bahamas, Cuba, and Hispanola. With age the rustic, scaly bark becomes grayish/cinnamon colored. The leaves are rounded at the tip having only 3-7 pairs of ovate to obovate leaflets . The growth rate is medium with high salt and drought tolerance. Sabicu is more commonly available for bonsai.

Bahamensis – Commonly known as Cuban Tamarind, bahamensis will grow up to 50‘. Its short, slender trunk is topped with long arching branches forming an umbrella-like silhouette. Leaves are large, with 2-5 pairs of pinnae, with a large gland below the lowest, leaflets in 10-30 pairs with pointed tips. New and older growth appear together. Its wood is used for flooring under various names: Caribbean Walnut, Mayan Walnut or Aztec Walnut.

Watsonii subsp. thornberi - A shrub or small tree native to the Rincon Mountains, Arizona, its height is 12-15’. In the mature tree the bark is rough. Leaves with 6-8 pairs of pinnae, to 6” long, leaflets in 20-35 pairs. This Lysiloma is more cold hardy than sabicu and bahamensis.

Flower/ fruit: The beautiful white pompom flowers appear during late spring and summer, producing flat, oblong-linear, thin seed pods 4-6” long. The flowers are attractive to butterflies.

Fertilizer: Use a balanced fertilizer.

Repotting: When average night temperatures are above 700F.

Prune/Training: As the leaves are small, the aim is to reduce the internodes to create a full canopy. Moderate root pruning is advised. Reduce root mass gradually. Growth rate is medium and branches can be wired. During a cold winter the tree might lose all its leaves. In that case treat like a deciduous tree in order for the tree to recover its vigor.

Soil: A well-draining bonsai mix. PH 6.5-7.5

Propagation: Nursery stock, bonsai growers as bonsai or pre-bonsai. 

Insect/ Disease: No major pests noted. 

Watering: Regular watering in a well-draining soil. 

Light: Grown in full sun to partial shade.

Temperature: Protect below 50°F. Cold sensitive.

Source: http://www.patrickgiacobbe.com/index.php/bonsai/56-lysiloma-sabicu
Dragon Tree Bonsai – Pictures 1 & 2 on from left used by permission
Picture on right - wikipedia​​




Common Name: Campeche, Logwood, Bloodwood
Haematoxylum campechianum – Native to the tropical regions of America, it is distributed on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Honduras, Belize, and Guatemala. The species has been introduced and naturalized across Central America, the Caribbean islands and northern South America. The wood of this tree is used as a source of the coloring matter called hematoxylin. In traditional medicine the wood is boiled in water to treat diarrhea and dysentery. Campeche is a fast growing evergreen, thorny tree that can reach 15 meters, approximately 50 feet in height. The trunk has many shoots, branching off near the base. With age the trunk becomes gnarled. The sparse, spreading, rounded crown is made up of many rising and twisted branches. 

Foliage: The pinnate leaves consist of several pairs of reverse heart-shaped leaflets. Leaves vary in color or size depending on the growing conditions. The new growth tends to have a coppery red hue, which greens up as the shoots harden.

Flower/ fruit: The fragrant, light yellow flowers are arranged in racemes. Campeche blooms from September through April, and the fruits (legumes) ripen March through May.

Fertilizer: Use a balanced fertilizer.

Repotting: When average night temperatures are above 70°F.

Prune: Can be heavily pruned. There is no need to worry about leaving foliage as this tree will leaf out quickly. New leaves will break out of old wood.

Soil: The tree responds well to a soil mix of lava rock, pine bark and Turface. Pedro Morales has successfully used akadama only.

Propagation: Grows well from cuttings as well as collected from the wild (if you live in Puerto Rico)

Insect/ Disease: No major pests noted. 

Watering: Moderate watering in a well-draining soil. 

Light:Full sun is best

Training: Responds well to wiring. Due to the hardness of the wood it lends itself to carving.

Temperature: Protect below 50°F. Cold sensitive.

Sources: Florida Bonsai Autumn 2009; Left Pictures used by permission of Pedro Morales;
Anibal Niembro Rocas, Instituto de Ecologia, Veracruz, Mexico.​​




Common Name:  Tamarind

Botanical Name: Tamarindus indica – a evergreen native of tropical Africa is was introduced to India and Persia, where western botanist first described Tamarind as Tamarindus indica, the Arabic derivative of the Persian and Arabic name “tamar al-Hind”. From here the tree was introduced widely throughout South East Asia, Taiwan and tropical China. Spanish and Portuguese colonists introduced Tamarind to Mexico and South America to a degree that it became a common ingredient in everyday living. It has become the most widely distributed fruit tree in the world. In Asia its pulp is used as a flavoring agent in meal preparations and is also recognized as having many medicinal properties. In the Caribbean region the pulp is used to prepare juice and often used in ice cream. Tamarind is long living and can reach heights of 80’ to 100’. Trunk circumference can reach 25’. The tree is wind and salt resistant and is widely used in our area as shade tree. When the wood is burned it gives off an intense heat, and the resultant charcoal is used in the manufacture of gunpowder. The bark of the Tamarind is nicely furrowed.

Foliage: The compound leaves are bright green, dense, pinnate and alternate. They close at night and during drought conditions.

Flower/fruit: Blooming in spring the 1” wide 5 petaled flowers are yellow with orange streaks and are arranged in small racemes.  Edible pulp of the fruit forms within a brown pod and tastes sweet and astringent. Trees will produce flowers and fruit on new growth after about 8 to 10 years.

Soil: Prefers a well draining sandy soil. In nature can be found on sandy beaches, as well as any other kind of soil condition.

Fertilizer: During the growing season any balanced fertilizer e.g., 20-20-20.  Over fertilization prevents good ramification and causes long internodes. Cut back on high nitrogen fertilizer after new growth is established.

Repot: Repotting in early spring is best, just as the new buds appear – usually mid to upper 60oF.  Root prune carefully and gradually; remove the same percentage of foliage and roots. 

Prune: Drastic trunk/branch pruning should be done between May and August. Regular pruning is needed to develop strong structure. Tamarind is a strong top grower. Keep top clipped to strengthen lower branches. After severe top pruning Tamarind breaks out with growth on old wood. A healthy tree can be defoliated 3 times per year. 

Propagation: Seed germination, cuttings, air layering or grafting. 

Insect/Disease: None.

Watering: Keep evenly moist. Do not allow to dry out. If Tamarind wilts, irreversible foliage damage occurs. 

Light: Full sun.

Training: Use the clip and grow method with directional pruning.  When using wire continuous caution is advised to avoid scarring. Slow to medium growth rate.  

Temperature: Protect below 50°F.

Source: Wikipedia, WTBF Spring 1989 Edition article by Mary C Miller​​




Common Name:    Dwarf or Miniature Holly, Holly Leaf Malpighia, Florida Holly, Singapore Holly, Okinawa Holly

Botanical Name: Malpighia coccigera – is an evergreen shrub native to the Caribbean. It is related to the Barbados cherry and Surinam cherry. It is not a true holly. In nature the shrub typically grows multi trunked and with clumping stems. Mature growth is woody, with light to medium brown bark. The bark is speckled all over with tiny spots, which actually are dormant buds each with the potential to grow a new branch. The growth is criss-crossed and haphazard and needs to be controlled.

Foliage:  The 2 cm,  leathery, emerald dark green leaves are arranged opposite, prickly and shaped like holly leaves. New growth tends to be horizontal.

Flower/ fruit:  The blooms are small (about the size of a dime), five-petaled, blush pink with yellow stamens at the center and appear almost all year with heaviest blossoms occurring late spring and early summer. Blooms appear all along the branches, and flowers are not sacrificed by tip pruning. In late spring segmented cherries develop, which technically are drupes*. Both flowers and cherries can appear simultaneously.

Soil:  Soil mixture should be slightly acid (pH 5.5 to 6.5), water retentive, but well draining.

Fertilizer:  A heavy feeder, a balanced liquid fertilizer should be used weekly during the spring and summer month. From October to March monthly applications are sufficient. If a timed-release fertilizer is used, it should be supplemented occasionally with a high nitrogen fertilizer applied directly to the leaves and allowed to drip down to the soil. Yellow leaves indicate a lack of chelated iron.

Repot:  Repotting from early spring, just as the new buds appear – usually mid to upper 60°F. and throughout the summer.

Pruning/Training:  The Dwarf Holly has an extensive, fibrous root system with well developed surface roots and will tolerate heavy root pruning. It quickly will develop numerous new feeder roots. The top as well can be heavily pruned. The goal is to develop compact flat planes of foliage, which can be achieved by diligent pruning and shortening of new shoots. Grow shoots 7 to 8 pair of leaves to cut back to 4 or 5 sets of leaves on the primary branch, and 2 to 3 sets on secondary branches. Clip and grow method is best. Keep unwanted growth along the trunk rubbed off.

Propagation:  Easily grows from cuttings, even large branches and trunks, through air layering, and from seed. Occasionally available as nursery stock.

Insect/ Disease:  Highly susceptible to nematodes, also scale and mites.

Watering:  Keep evenly moist. Do not allow to dry out.

Light:  Will thrive in full sun, but will require sun at least half the day.

Temperature:  Protect below 50°F.

Styles:  The Dwarf Holly lends itself to a variety of styles like multiple trunks, root over rock and informal upright.

BCI species Index guide. 
WTBF Autumn 1989 article by Mary Miller, Fact Sheet FPS-380; Bonsai Photo artofbonsai.org/galleries/shohin.php

Note: malpighia pendiculata, see June 2009
Definition: Drupe -  A fruit with one of more hard seeds or stones encased in a soft, fleshy outer covering. Ex. Cherries, apricots, viburnums.




Common Name: Firethorn or Pyracantha

Botanical Name:

Pyracantha several cultivars, e.g. crenulata (Nepal Firethorn: leaves have notched margins, new growth rust colored, dark red berries), and coccinea (Scarlet or European Firethorn: leaves are toothed, ovate to lance shaped, new growth is fine and downy, scarlet berries); angustifolia(Orange Firethorn: leaves are dark green with grey fuzz on the underside, berries are yellow to deep orange)  – A small genus of thorny evergreen shrubs (up to 7 meters tall) in the rose family native to east to southeast Asia and southeast Europe. They resemble and are related to Cotoneaster. Firethorn is favored for their year-round foliage, their abundant flowering capabilities and for their numerous fruit in autumn. The name Firethorn is derived from the fiery berry color and very sharp 1” long thorns that are carried on branches. Thorns may become future branches.

Foliage: Leaves are narrowly ovate, green to dark green, some are narrow, some toothed.

Flower/fruit: Flowers are typically white and are born in corymbs in mid-summer. The spherical berries (pomes) start out green and by August/September turn yellow, red or orange depending on the species.

Soil: More inorganic than organic. Prefers well draining medium.

Fertilizer: From early spring to early summer feed with high nitrogen fertilizer, then switch to low nitrogen to promote flowering and fruiting. May also use a balanced fertilizer.

Repot: Repotting in early spring every 2 years as leaf-buds extend. Pyracantha resents repeated root-disturbance, but left too long roots will coil dramatically with no new root hairs.

Prune: On young, recently re-potted or weak trees, flowers can be removed to encourage vigor and growth at the expense of berry production. Remove spent berries in early spring. In late fall shorten long new growth down to 2 or 3 nodes, to focus the energy in and keep the current shape in better check when flowering comes around.  Prune new growth down to two or three leaves in early summer. Continue pinching throughout the growing season. Flower buds occur at the tips of mature short branches. Firethorn will grow new branches from new thorns, so remove them judiciously.

Propagation: Soak seeds overnight before sowing. Cuttings or air layer in spring or in summer.

Insect/ Disease: Aphids, scale, spider mites and fireblight. Needs good ventilation to avoid fungus. 

Watering: Firethorn tolerates slightly drier conditions, but never allow it to dry out completely. During flowering and fruiting, water generously for best results.

Light: Full sun or partial shade, but protect from hot, midday sun in summer to avoid drying out.

Training: Wire new branches before they become too inflexible. Older branches are stiff and hard to move. Clip and grow works well. Can be trained into various styles like multiple trunks, informal upright, group planting, as well as cascading.

Temperature: Cold hardy but protect below 40°F.





Common Name: Elaeagnus

Botanical Name: 
Elaeagnus is a genus of about 50 to 70 species of deciduous or evergreen flowering shrubs. The alternate leaves and shoots are usually covered with tiny silvery to brownish scales, giving the plants a whitish to grey brown color from the distance. The fragrant flowers are small, with four lobed calys and no petals. The colors range from pale yellow to creamy brown, often with brownish speckles. The fruit is a drupe* containing a single seed, edible in many species. The colors range from yellow to red to silvery. Elaeagnus is native to temperate and subtropical regions of Asia. Some species can be found as far south as northeastern Australia (E. triflora), and southeastern Europe (E. angustifolia).
 E. commutata:common name - Silverberry; the berries have a distinctive silvery color; the leaves are narrow with a silvery cast and curl slightly at the tip.
   E. multiflora: (gumi) is cultivated in China, but is growing in popularity in the rest of the world. The berries of E. multiflora are used as a nutraceutical plant in China (both for food and medicine).
 E. pungens**: common name - Silverthorn, Spotted Elaeagnus, or Thorny Elaeagnusis an evergreen that sometimes has thorns. The leaves are shiny green above with silvery spots and white with brown speckles underneath. The fragrant flowers appear in the fall through early spring, followed by brownish fruit speckled with silver.
 E. umbelata**: common name - Autumn Olive, blooms and fruits in the fall. The leaves are narrow and the underside has a silvery cast. The berries are red; they are said to have high carotenoid antioxidant properties.
**E. umbelata and E. pungens are presently rated a Category II exotic invasive species by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council.

Soil: Prefers well draining, non alkaline soil with some organic added. pH 5.5-6.5

Fertilizer: Every 2 weeks through growing season with acid fertilizer, alternating with balanced fertilizer (20-20-20).

Repot: Repotting in early spring every 2 to 3 years as leaf buds extend.

Prune: Hard pruning should be carried out in winter. New shoots- trim back to 2 leaves: clip and grow method. Branches can be wired. Elaeagnes can be defoliated to encourage ramification.

Propagation: Grows well from green cuttings, also from seeds.

Insect/Disease: Resistant to pests and disease, but can suffer from scale and aphids, also susceptible to coral spot.

Watering: Keep soil moist during summer months, never allow to dry out; reduce water slightly during winter months.

Light/Temperature: Full Sun or partial shade.  Protect below 40°F.

Training/Styles: Wire new branches before they become too inflexible. Older branches are stiff and hard to move. Clip and grow works well. Can be trained into various styles like multiple trunks, informal upright, group planting, as well as cascading; adapts well to many styles.

Source:https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/st233, http://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Elaeagnus.html  ​​




Common Name: Snowbush, Snow on the Mountain

Botanical Name: Breynia nivosa - The Snowbush is a tropical shrub from the South Pacific that is well adapted to South Florida. It is named because it gives the appearance of its leaves being covered with snow. Snowbush is closely related to poinsettia, crotons, and other members of the Euphorbia plant family. Snowbush is an upright shrub that can reach up to 8 feet in height if left unpruned. Breynia disticha is a smaller leaved dwarf form that has many tightly growing stems.

Foliage: The small rounded leaves show a lot of variation in color. In shady areas the leaves are green with white, exposed to medium to full sunlight darker reds to purple color appear with the white and green leaves. New growth comes in pink. Leaves will become larger when not exposed to sufficient sunlight. The stems are bright red.

Flowers: Small parasol-shaped flowers appear during the summer month followed by seeds pods. New plants can be found growing around established shrubs.

Soil: Snowbush is happy in any well draining soil medium, but is not salt tolerant.

Fertilizer: A well balance fertilizer every 2 weeks during the growing season and monthly during the cooler month.

Repot: Repotting in early spring and throughout the summer months every 2 to 3 years.

Prune: Regular pruning is tolerated.

Propagation:  Grows well from green or woody cuttings and seeds, as well as division of suckers.

Insect/ Disease: Even though the Snowbush is hardy and healthy it is susceptible to the tiny Snowbush spanworm caterpillar, which can do a lot of damage to the foliage. Snowbush is also prone to attacks by aphids, spider mites and the white fly.

Watering: Keep soil moist during summer months, but does not like wet feet.

Light/Temperature: Full sun to partial shade. Protect below 40°F

Training/Styles: Any upright style is suitable. Can be wired and trained in the normal fashion.





Common Name:  Escambron, Escambron Blanco, Prickly Myrtle, Haggarbush 
Species:  Clerodendrum aculeatum – 
The genus has 400 species and is found in the warm parts of the world with greatest diversity in Asia and Africa. The species is found in the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda and has been introduced to Hawaii. The French name for Escambron is Amourette and it is used widely in both Guadeloupe and Martinique as bonsai material. In Florida the species has been introduced through Puerto Rican bonsai artists, and most of the collected specimens available in Florida bonsai nurseries are imported from there. Escambron is a viny shrub with widely spreading branches, sometimes climbing over trees and shrubs, forming a dense ticket up to 20’ high. In Puerto Rico it is used as a hedge plant. The trunk has a rough wrinkled texture of up to 6 inches in diameter. The wood is hard and fine grained. Escambron is both salt and draught tolerant.

Medicinal: Leaf poultices have been used to treat skin problems and other ailments.

Flowers/Fruit: During the summer month Escambron develops clusters of small white flowers with long stamens, followed by small yellow fruit containing seeds. Two or three short curved spines occur below the opposite ? to 2” long elliptic leaves at each node.

Feeding: Well balanced fertilizer year round.

Repotting: During the summer months

Soil: Well draining soil

Propagation: Collecting in Puerto Rico or collected species imported by local bonsai nurseries. Also grows from cuttings and probably seeds.

Insect/Disease: Fairly resistant to pests

Watering: Prefers dryer conditions similar to Bougainvillea

Light: Full sun is best for smaller leaf size.

Temperature: Protect below 40°F

Training/Pruning: Escambron has a dense root system. Plant will yellow and slow in growth when root bound. Branches can be wired when young and green, even though care must be taken because they are fragile at this stage. Escambron will bud back well. Repeated pinching of some of the large leaves helps to reduce leaf size.

Styles: Informal upright as well as multiple trunk style

Sources: Eric Wigert of Wigerts Bonsai Nursery, North Ft Myers 
Picture:  http://taikoearthpottery.blogspot.com/2012/08/great-tree-and-container-combination.html
Book: Seashore Plants of South Florida and the Caribbean, David W. Nellis​​




Common Name: Tintillo, White Indigo Berry, Arbol de Navidad
Species: Randia aculeata- A spiny shrub or small tree native to Puerto Rico and its surrounding Spanish Virgin Islands, (including Culebra Island), the Caribbean, Mexico to Central America and South America as far south as Colombia. Its size can be between 3 to 6 m tall. Tintillo has a slightly fissured gray bark, opposite, often horizontal branches and rough appearance. The wood is hard and heavy. The plant is supported by an extensive tap and lateral root system. The roots have a corky, ivory colored bark and are stiff and woody. The spines are paired and the foliage is crowded on the ends of short lateral twigs. In its native habitat the tree grows in most types of soils, but not poorly drained soils. In Puerto Rico Tintillo grows from sea level to 600m in elevation. In Florida, it grows in pinelands and along the margins of coastal hammocks. Before the arrival of pine trees the Puerto Ricans used and decorated the Tintillo as a Christmas tree, hence the name Arbol de Navidad. The name Tintillo and Inkberry arose from the former use of the berries for dye and for ink. The fruits are used in herbal medicine to control dysentery.

Foliage/Flower/Fruit: The leaves are mostly without petiole and are ovate (egg-shaped). They are approximately 1 cm long and 0.5 cm broad, slightly thickened, shiny green above and light green below. The solitary flowers are small, white, funnel-shaped. The small spherical, light green fruits with a brittle shell-like skin, contains five to 10 round, flattened seeds. In its native habitat the tree blooms year round, especially after dry conditions followed by heavy rainfall. The flowers provide nectar for butterflies and the berries provide food for birds. 

Feeding: Well balanced fertilizer year round.

Repotting: During the summer months.

Soil: Well draining soil.

Propagation: Collecting is the best way to get a nice trunk. Grows from both green or woody cuttings as well as seeds.

Insect/Disease: Fairly resistant to pests.

Watering: Moderate watering in a well-draining soil. 

Light: Full sun.

Temperature: Protect below 40°F

Tintillo is a slow grower, therefore it is best to obtain a collected species from a bonsai nursery, which imports Tintillo from Puerto Rico. Tintillo will bud back on old wood. Can be defoliated as well as wired. Growth habit, styling and looks is similar to Fukien Tea except the leaves are shaped differently.

Styles: Suitable for most styles including informal upright, multiple trunk etc.

Sources: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fp497
Photo on left used by permission of Lazaro Quintino​​​