Parrot’s Beak, Hedgehog, Wild Sage
Indigenous to India and to Southeast Asia (including the Philipines)
Gmelina, pronounced with a silent G, is a sprawling thorny shrub growing up to 10 to 15 feet. Leaves vary from a oval to ivy or ‘duckfoot’ shape. It produces yellow flowers from a long, up to 10 inch, tube shaped structure comprised of overlapping bracts. It is said to resemble a parrot’s beak. The flower pod has one seed in the end. It also produces a 2cm smooth, pear-shaped fruit. Cold tolerant to lower 30’s, it can become deciduous in colder weather.
Gmelina is proving to be one of the more popular species for tropical bonsai. Its fast growth and development make it easy to progress your design in a short time. Branches wire easily and are very flexible when they emerge. Leaves reduce very well from a natural size of up to 4 inches to less than ½ an inch as bonsai. This is a favorite species for shohin enthusiasts. It rarely blooms as a bonsai as the flower usually emerges at the end of leggy growth. The small glossy leaves however are reason enough to grow this species. It will form a dense crown with repeated pruning. The bark will become rough and fissured with age.
Best in summer (nighttime lows above 70 degrees). Can tolerate a heavy root pruning if balanced with foliage pruning or defoliation. Place in a shady location until new leaves emerge. Repot every 1 to 2 years. It grows best in a well draining soil mix.
Very rarely – but if seen, Gmelina is tolerant of pesticide sprays.
Heavy feeder, we use a high nitrogen 6 month slow release, but will appreciate any organics or supplements you provide.
Fruit extract is medicinal and is used to treat athlete’s foot and various other complications; Pounded with lime it can be applied as a poultice to the throat for coughs.