The artwork of bonsai originated in China. As subsequently refined in Japan, its strategies produce miniature timber that give aesthetic pleasure to individuals throughout Asia and the broader world past. This appreciation is mirrored within the couple-on-the-street interview footage integrated into “The Biology Behind Bonsai Timber,” the video above from Youtuber Jonny Lim, higher often called The Backpacking Biologist. Not solely does Lim collect constructive views on bonsai round Los Angeles, he additionally finds in that very same metropolis a bonsai nursery run by Bob Pressler, who has spent greater than half a century mastering the artwork.
Even Pressler admits that he doesn’t totally perceive the biology of bonsai. Lim’s seek for scientific solutions sends him to “one thing known as the apical meristem.” That’s the a part of the tree made from “stem cells discovered on the ideas of the shoots and roots.” Stem cells, as you might bear in mind from their lengthy second within the information a number of years in the past, have the potential to show into any form of cell.
The cells of bonsai are the identical measurement as these of normal timber, analysis has revealed, however because of the deliberate slicing of roots and resultant restriction of vitamins to the apical meristem, their leaves are made up of fewer cells in complete. Lim attracts an analogy with baking cookies of various sizes: “The elements are precisely the identical. The one distinction is that bonsais have much less beginning materials.”
Having gained his personal appreciation for bonsai, Lim additionally waxes poetic on how these miniature timber “nonetheless develop on the face of adversity, they usually achieve this completely.” However as one commenter replies, “Why recreate adversity?” Claiming that the method is “crippling timber for simply aesthetics,” this particular person presents one of many identified instances towards bonsai. However that case, based on the consultants Lim consults, relies on sure frequent misconceptions in regards to the processes concerned: that the wires used to place limbs “torture” the timber, for instance. However as others level out, do those that make these anti-bonsai arguments really feel simply as pained in regards to the many lawns that get mown down every week?
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Primarily based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and tradition. His tasks embody the Substack e-newsletter Books on Cities, the e book The Stateless Metropolis: a Stroll via Twenty first-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The Metropolis in Cinema. Observe him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Fb, or on Instagram.