The hornbeam bonsai, with their showy fall color, alternating leaves and interesting 'flowers,' make great subjects.
They are deciduous. By their nature, they grow straight. Therefore, the styles best suited for them as bonsai are usually formal and informal upright.
The European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), Japanese (Carpinus japonica) and American (Carpinus caroliniana) are all popular as bonsai.
Overall the Carpinus genus has approximately 25- 30 species. So it shouldn't be surprising to find many good hornbeam bonsai around all of the world's temperate zones.
The wood of the Caprinus is very hard (was used for structural beams) and almost white, which resembles animal horns (which were used for knife and utensil handles etc.)
Dan Robinson has a beautiful facility and exhibit called Elandan Gardens in Washington state, USA
As with any bonsai, people often ask "Do they bloom?"
The answer is "yes, however ..."
Carpinus does not have what you may think of as flowers, it has catkins.
"Catkins - Elongated cluster of single-sex flowers bearing scaly bracts and usually lacking petals.
"Many trees bear catkins, including willows, birches, and oaks.
"Wind carries pollen from male to female catkins or from male
catkins to female flowers that take a different form (e.g., in spikes). "
Source - EncyclopediaBritannica.com
The catkins vary greatly among the 30–40 species.
The Pacific Bonsai Museum in Washington State, USA includes this wonderful example of a short, stout Carpinus subject.
Walter Pall lives in Germany, he says "I consider myself an amateur who tries to work professionally." However, he is considered an artist by anyone who has seen his work! His extensive collection includes many types of conifers and deciduous trees.
Pall's extensive collection includes many other types of conifers and deciduous trees.
Walter works with the hornbeam species ... in a big way.
As with many bonsai tree pictures, it's difficult to tell the size of a planting like this, unless you see it with something or someone to denote scale.
For that reason, this bonsai picture of Walter working on this specimen bonsai forest is included.
The picture to the right is from the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, Washington, DC
William Valavanis meticulous bonsai trees are know throughout the world. This is his Korean hornbeam in full Fall color.
Where the Carpinus is native, bonsai artists around the world often collect them from the wild.
This is why you see so many old looking, beautiful specimens on this page.
This one from Mike Kohing in England. It took about ten years to accomplish from small starter trees.
is my free monthly newsletter. Subscribe to get current tips, ideas and photos that may not appear on this site.
Know the basics? Ready for more? Watch these amazing Colin Lewis bonsai class videos.
Craftsy sent me a copy of this class to review. Very impressed, we became an affiliate and receive a small commission on purchases. (Which helps support this site.)