Creating the illusion of age is one of the important aspects of bonsai. The shape of the trunk contributes to an aged look, but surface roots add to the venerable appearance. They should radiate around the trunk on all sides and reflect a solid base on which the tree is supported.
Branch shape must also suggest an old tree. The limbs taper from the trunk out to the end slowly, ending in a network of fine twigs. If the leaves or the needles at the ends of the twigs are too large, the illusion is lost. Trees grown as bonsai should have small leaves or needles which are in proportion to the trunk and branches. Large-leaved species with pleasing twig patterns are frequently grown for winter viewing, after the leaves have fallen. The overall composition, in any case, must suggest a large tree reproduced on a miniature scale.
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