Earliest Western Reports of Various Kinds of Trees/Shrubs
as Dwarfed Potted Trees



Compiled by Robert J. Baran



         The following is a listing of when these various general groups of trees/shrubs were first mentioned in known Western sources as having been seen as dwarfed potted trees.  While some of the later reports might give a species breakdown, of say, Pinus types, for the sake of standardization we have not gone into such detail here.

         A date after the name of some of these plants in the first column is the earliest known date that this type of plant was mentioned in Chinese works as having been used as a dwarf tree, per our Bonsai Books, pre-1800 listing.  (There were other plants which were used in China as dwarfed potted trees which are not listed here -- such as Damnacanthus, Cedrela, Lycium, Oleander, and Serissa.  When we come across early Western references to these, then we will add these plants below.)

         We acknowledge that it is possible that a common name may have been used for more than one genus by two or more observers.  Click on a chosen date to go to the respective source.  Dates separated by a slash indicate the date recorded and date actually published.  If a third date then follows a comma after these, this is for a later recorded but earlier published date.

TYPE
IN  CHINA IN  JAPAN
ELSEWHERES
almond  (Prunus dulcis)

1889

apple  (Malus)   1617 or 1618
1812
1870
1884
arbor vitae  (Thuja)

1863
1889
azalea  (Rhododendron)   1688

1863

bamboo   1617 or 1618
1834
1830
1899
banana  (Musa)   c.1620

1870

beech  (Fagus)

1900

box  (Buxus)   1617 or 1618

1860/1992 , 1898
1898
Camellia   1688 for tea

1860/1992 , 1899

camphor  (Cinnamomum camphora)   1688 for cinnamon

1870

carambola  (Averrhoa carambola)
1820/1822


cedar  (Cedrus / Cryptomeria)
1782
1859
1889
Cephalotaxus

1889

champaca  (Michelia champaca)
1820/1822


cherry  (Prunus)

1860/1992 , 1863

chestnut  (Castanea)
1884


Chimonanthus

1904

citron  (Citrus medica)
1820/1822


Cleyera (sakaki)

1899

crab apple  (Malus)   1617 or 1618

1939

crape myrtle  (Lagerstroemia)

1902

cypress  (Cupressus / Chamaecyparis)   c.1547
1846
1878
1887
elm  (Ulmus)   c.1620
1794/1827 , 1818
1900

Euonymus

1889

fig  (Ficus)
1794/1827
1889
1604
fir  (Abies)
1782
1830

Gardenia
1820/1822
1899

ginkgo  (Salisburia ==> Ginkgo)   1617 or 1618
1847
1889

grape  (Vitis)
1820/1822


hawthorn  (Crataegus)

1902

hemlock  (Tsuga)

1913
1913
holly  (Ilex)

1900

hornbeam  (Carpinus)

1900

ivy  (Parthenocissus)

1899

Japanese apricot  (Prunus mume)

1889

jasmine  (Jasminum)   1688

1904

juniper  (Juniperus)   c.1620
1847
1863

Kerria

1904

kumquat  (Fortunella)
1938


larch  (Larix)
1903
1863
1898
lemon  (Citrus limon)

1870

longan  (Dimocarpus longan)
1846


lychee  (Litchi chinensis)
1846


Magnolia

1900

maple  (Acer)   1688?

1860/1992 , 1870
1889
Nageia

<1878
1878
Nandina domestica

1889

oak  (Quercus)   1793
1797
<1866
c.1866
olive  (Olea)

1870

orange  (Citrus)   1688
1797
1859

Paulownia

1903

peach  (Prunus persica)   1617 or 1618
1820/1822
1863

pear  (Pyrus)
1846
1870

persimmon  (Diospyros)

<1878
1878
pine  (Pinus)   1506
1797
1845
1889
Pittosporum

1889

plum  (Prunus)   1506
1820/1822
1830

Podocarpus

1863
1898
pomegranate  (Punica granatum)   1688

1902

privet  (Ligustrum)   c.1620

1900

quince  (Cydonia / Chaenomeles)   1688

1902

Retinospora

1863
1890
Rhapis

1863
1898
Rynchospermum

<1878
1878
sago (Cycas revoluta)

1863
1898
Sciadopitys

1863
1898
spruce  (Picea)
1797


Styrax

1902

tangerine  (Citrus)
1938


Ternstroemia

1889

Thujopsis

1889
1890
Trachelospermum

1889

willow  (Salix)

1908

wistaria  (Wisteria)
1852
1860/1992 , 1892

yew  (Taxus)

1859

Zelkova

1902




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