Excellence Tree Award Criteria
by Vance Wood (Approved by Board 4/1/1995)
This compilation of trees and shrubs is intended to reflect representatives of the native flora usable for bonsai within the MABA environment. The reason for the document is to serve as a guideline for those who may be called upon to judge a showing of bonsai within the sphere of influence of the Mid-America Bonsai Association. The intention is to create a list of approved plant material acceptable solely on the grounds of their being an indigenous species. It is from this list that the recipient of the MABA Award for Excellence in Bonsai is to be chosen.
This is not to rule out other trees as acceptable for showing at a MABA function or being ruled out for awards such as best of show. The idea is to draw special attention to those species that are native to our particular areas and in turn encourage development of this unique local material. It is the purpose of MABA to encourage and develop not only local talent but to develop local material. MABA should not become simply a reflection of the rest of the country in our view, cultivation, and material, but instead, where ever possible, to establish a regional identity valid in its own right, with its own unique contributions to the art of bonsai as important as the California juniper, the Florida buttonwood and bald cypress. The list, nation wide, is quite large except for here. It is our purpose to change that view.
There is no question that there are many imported species of trees and shrubs that are delightful, beautiful, and traditional subjects for bonsai that are represented in the many MABA member collections. These trees should be recognized for the skill needed to develop them. The accomplishment of developing any tree into an extraordinary bonsai should be acknowledged and awarded, less we run the risk of taking on some other form of bonsai fascism.
However the creation and distribution of this unique and special award should follow strictly the guidelines set forth and approved by the board of directors for the sole purpose wherein it was set forth: A special recognition and award for cultivation of native material as defined. The purpose for this list is to assist both judges and exhibitors in determining what species are eligible for the award in discussion. The problem is that there are in cultivation many named cultivars allowable on that basis. It is possible that a grower has a plant to exhibit that would be eligible but goes unrecognized due to ignorance of the heritage of the material used. This becomes a particular problem with junipers. Many of us have a tendency to think of most juniper cultivars sold in the nursery trade as being Asian in origin. It is not uncommon to find Wilton's blue rug juniper listed as Juniperus Chinensis Wiltonii. This infers that this tree or shrub is a cultivar of a Chinese juniper, which would disqualify it for the MABA award. However Wilton's juniper is in reality Juniperus Horizontalis. It is our hope that this list will help to relieve some of the confusion.
The best effort possible has been put forth to complete the most accurate list possible. It is more than possible that there are errors of omission especially in the area of the malus species, considering that Dr. Michael A. Dirr is not able to weed out of the cultivars and their sources, domestic and foreign. In this case the basic wild flora are the only ones included in the list. Additions and deletions from this list are welcomed with appropriate proof and references. The changes proposed to the list are to be approved by the board or it's designate.
Eastern White Pine Pinus Strobus
Jack Pine Pinus Banksiana
Red Pine Pinus Resinosa
Short Leaf Pine Pinus Echinata
Virginia Pine Pinus Virginiana
Pitch Pine Pinus Rigda
Tamarack Larix Laricina
Black spruce Picea Mariana
Canadian Hemlock Tsuga Canadensis
Balsam Fir Abies Balsamea
BALD CYPRESS TAXODIUM DISTICHUM
Monach of Illinois
Canadian Yew Taxus Canadensis
CEDAR - CYPRESS CUPRESSACEAE
Northern White Cedar Thuja Occidentalis
Common Juniper Juniperus Communis
Eastern Red Cedar Juniperus Virginiana
Creeping Juniper Juniperus Horizontalis
Pussy Willow Salix Discolor
Paper Birch Betula Papyrifera
White Oak Quercus Alba
HOP - HORNBEAM OSTRYA
Eastern Hop-Hornbeam Ostrya Virginiana
American Hormbeam Carpinus Caroliniana
American Beech Fagus Grandifolia
American Elm Ulmus Americana
American Hackberry Celtis Occidentalis
WITCH - HAZEL HAMAMELIS
Common Witch-Hazel Hamamelis Virginiana
Sweet Crabapple Malus Coronaria
CHERRIES & PLUMS PRUNUS
Black Cherry Prunus Serotina
SERVICE BERRIES AMELANCHIER
Allegheny Serviceberry Amelanchier laevis
Frosted Hawthorn Crataegus Pruinosa
Eastern Redbud Cercis Canadensis
Sugar Maple Acer Saccharum
HORSE CHESTNUT AESCULUS
Yellow Buckeye Aesculus Octandra
Flowering Dogwood Cornus Florida
Black Tupelo Nyssa Sylvatica
Mountain Laurel Kalmia Latifolia
Rose bay Rhododendron Rhododendron Latifolia
Common Persimmon Diospyros Virginiana
*Added 2015, P. Weishaar.
© Copyright 2014 Mid-America Bonsai Alliance and the individual authors.