Pinus parviflora - Japanese White Pine

Pinus parviflora, also known as five-needle pine or Japanese white pine, is, native to Korea and Japan. It is a coniferous evergreen tree, growing to 25 m in height and is usually as broad as it is tall, forming a wide, dense, conical crown. The leaves are needle-like, in bundles of five, with a length of 5 – 6 cm. The cones are 4 – 7 cm long, with broad, rounded scales.

Pinus pentaphylla is a variety of Pinus parviflora, a pine with small flowers. In its natural state, when the tree is young, its outline is pyramid shaped and its foliage dense, but when it is old, the outline alters to an irregular shape while its wide-spreading branches become horizontal and look very picturesque. There are not many branches; these curve up at the end, and tend to become bare as they get older. The upper ones form a crown. Resinous knobs appear on the bark of young specimens. The needles are clustered in groups of five, hence “pentaphylla”. They are evergreen, can be straight or twisted, bluey green in colour edged with two resin coloured lines.

This is a popular tree for bonsai, and is also grown as an ornamental tree in parks and gardens.


Fully grown tree



Training as bonsai:

Hard prune in November to remove unwanted branches and over-strong or unwanted shoots. Before removing any branches think hard - white pines do not produce new branches from the trunk so it pays to have an end design in mind. What is an out of place shoot now may become a branch of the future that can be wired into position. Do major wiring in winter, taking care not to dislodge or damage latent or new buds where possible. Do wiring after needle plucking to get a clearer picture of the tree’s image.

No full-scale candle pinching should be done in spring or summer. Remove only out of place and downward pointing candles. Candle pinching becomes more important for developed trees to keep their shape. Pull out needles on strong shoots near the top of the tree and, at branch ends, leave at least 5 or 6 bundles minimum on the strongest shoots. They can also be cut off with sharp scissors, leaving about 2mm of needle as a stub. Leave more needles on weaker shoots further back on the branch.

Bonsai styled trees readily available for bonsai training from bonsai nurseries


Before and some-time later after training


Before and 10 years later then repotted and repositioned


Specimen trees displayed at shows


Specimen trees displayed at shows


Specimen trees displayed at shows


Below is an unusual demonstration by Budi Sulisto. White pines on a large piece of Tufa rock. The rock stands at about one metre in height and the pines are not that small.






Web design:    nysys