Styling a Bantulinao Bonsai (Maba buxifolia): Guest Article by Teddy Lim and Leo de Leon

Page 1 of 3

The new Bonsai Book for 2019 by Harry Harrington
bonsai4me shop

Bonsai Books· Bonsai Tools· Bonsai For Sale· Carving Tools· Bonsai Pots· Bonsai T-Shirts

Page 1 of 3:

The Bantulinao is a tree species that I am unfamiliar with here in the UK, however, looking through the images in this article, one can appreciate not only the suitability of this species for bonsai, but also the way in which the tree in question has been styled.

This article was first published in the August edition of the Harbest Bonsai Newsletter, an e-mail based newsletter from the Philippines (for more details and subscription information, please see the foot of this page). My thanks go to Leo de Leon and Teddy Lim for granting me permission to reproduce this article at

Bantulinao is a tender evergreen with small white flowers which has red fruits when ripe. It is slow growing and thrives in temperatures of above 15° Celsius. The tree should be positioned in full sun; in warm, wet and windy conditions.

black bark and roots

black bark and roots

The appealing character of this tree species is that it has uniquely black bark and roots, nice thick ovate leaves, and tiny fruits. The internodes are also naturally short.

Newly sprouted leaves are often red

Newly sprouted leaves are often red.


Bantulinao flowers in May, bearing fruit in June to July which turn red as they mature.

very old Bantulinao bonsai

very old Bantulinao bonsai

Amazingly beautiful shari and very aged bark can be found in very old Bantulinao bonsai, just like the ones we see in the pictures above. This is a very desirable characteristic that we try to have in a bonsai. This tree is about a 100 years old.

>>Styling a Bantulinao Bonsai: Page 2 of 3