Staghorn Sumac

Bonsai Detail

Brief Description
This bonsai is remarkable in its dissimilarity to either natural trees or traditional bonsai, and yet, it refers strongly to an aspect of Asian art and culture that derives from Zen philosophy. The objective of Zen is to attain wisdom and serenity through absolute control of body and mind. In this pursuit, influences and distractions from outside forces are eliminated as much as possible, leaving a certain simplicity of being. Transferred to the arts, this approach tends to distill processes to the bare essentials; the most profound thought can be contained in a haiku poem of only 17 syllables, a mountain range in a few brush strokes of ink; or an entire landscape in a tree a few inches tall. Is this sumac a lightening bolt connecting heaven and earth? A fragment of cursive calligraphy? Or is it “art for art’s sake,” that needs no explanation beyond the pleasure it provides?
Common Name
Staghorn Sumac
Scientific Name
Rhus typhina
Leo Cunningham