The Shohin Bonsai Study Group

Shohin means“a small thing¯, indicating it being even smaller than Bonsai. Although no exact rules were ever formulated, a tree is considered to be Shohin when under 7 inches tall. Experts believe that you must be able to hold the Shohin tree in one hand, indicating the exact measure of the height of the tree is not strictly important.  Mame bonsai are smaller still. 

Shohin and Mame are quite similar to Bonsai, but besides size, differences can also be distinguished in their care. As pots get smaller, more regular watering and fertilizing is required. Another difference can be found in the amount of detail depicted by the trees. Real trees have thousands of leaves and branches, but as size decreases, all the way to the tiny little Mame trees, detail tends to decrease as well. Therefore, Shohin and especially Mame can be thought of as being more impressionistic. Proportion and scale become much more crucial in the design, so that leaf size and internode length is extremely important.  Fine shohin bonsai require more intense care and planning.

The Fresno Bonsai Society has a group of shohin enthusiasts who meet monthly to learn and discuss this refined art form.  They gather at a different members home on a weekday evening for a potluck dinner and workshop.  The Shohin Study Group often provides a special display of their trees at various annual shows such as the Annual Spring Festival in the Shinzen Garden and the Fresno Home and Garden Show.

Watch the month FBS newsletter for the meeting date and location.  All members of the FBS are welcome.  Steve DaSilva is the leader of the study group.  He can be contacted at