Parrot’s Beak, Hedgehog, Wild Sage

Indigenous to India and to Southeast Asia (including the Philipines)

General info:
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.

As Bonsai:
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. articles_Gmelina-philippensis-4 articles_Gmelina-philippensis-3 articles_Gmelina-philippensis-2 articles_Gmelina-philippensis-1

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.

Other uses:
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.

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