Overview

Bonsai is the art and science of growing trees and shrubs in containers in a way that produces a miniature version of a full-size tree growing in the wild, typically to between 15 and 90 centimetres high. The bonsai artist uses special tools to prune the branches and foliage, at least once a year, often more frequently. The roots are trimmed, and the potting medium is replaced in a two- to five-year cycle, to promote new growth and keep the plant healthy. The artist also deploys certain techniques create the appearance of age and uses various presentation styles to create a particular aesthetic.

Bonsai has been practised in Japan for at least 1,200 years. It originated from the even older Chinese practice of penjing, which is the art of and science of growing miniature landscapes in a pot or tray, as opposed the more sparsely presented single tree, typical of bonsai. Knowledge of miniature trees spread to Australia in the 1800s, via Chinese migrants and post-World War II, via returning Australian soldiers. The Association of Australian Bonsai Clubs was established in 1980 and currently represents 58 bonsai clubs across the country. In 2022, Australia is expected to host the ninth World Bonsai Convention, in Perth.

Featured in this stamp issue are three examples of Australian native plants as bonsai. The trees featured in this issue are, or have been, housed at the National Bonsai and Penjing Collection of Australia (NBPCA), which is part of the National Arboretum, Canberra. Learn more in our Explore the world of Australian bonsai blog article.

Technical specifications

Issue date
27 July 2021
Issue withdrawal date
31 January 2022
Denomination
$1.10 x 2, $2.70 x 1
Stamp design
Janet Boschen Design
Product design
Janet Boschen Design
Paper: gummed
Tullis Russell
Paper: self-adhesive
SecurPost C Print 100
Printer
RA Printing
Printing process
Offset lithography
Stamp size (mm)
26 x 37.5
Minisheet size (mm)
135 x 80
Perforations
14.6 x 13.86
Sheet layout
Modules of 50
FDI Postmark
Canberra ACT 2601
FDI withdrawal date
25 August 2021

Stamps in this issue

$1.10 Callistemon viminalis

This stamp design features a bottlebrush as bonsai, in an informal upright style (some bend or lean in the trunk). The bottlebrush is the cultivar ‘Captain Cook’, a dwarf form of Callistemon viminalis, which has a weeping appearance. The bonsai artists are Derek and Sue Oakley. The stamp photograph is by Leigh Taafe.

$1.10 Ficus rubiginosa

This stamp design presents a fig as bonsai, in a formal upright style (no bend or lean in the trunk, and the trunk does not go all the way to the top of the tree). The fig is a Port Jackson Fig (Ficus ribiginosa), known for its thick trunk and long, twisted roots that tend to grow along the trunk’s surface. The bonsai artist was Max Candy. The stamp photograph is by Ben Kopilow, Fusion Photography.

$2.70 Melaleuca linariifolia

This stamp design showcases a paperbark (or honey myrtle) as bonsai, in a slanting style (where the apex of the trunk falls between 10 and 45 degrees to the left or right). The tree is a dwarf form of Melaleuca linariifolia, known as ‘Claret Tops’ – a cultivar named for the reddish new growth that appears on the leaf tips. The bonsai artist is David Willoughby. The stamp photograph is by Ben Kopilow, Fusion Photography.

Shop our stamp collectables

Set of stamps:

Set of Australian Native Bonsai Gummed Stamps

This set of stamps contains all three stamps from the Australian Native Bonsai stamp issue.

Stamp pack:

Australian Native Bonsai Stamp Pack

The Australian Native Bonsai stamp pack contains all four stamps and minisheet from the stamp issue presented in high quality folder.

Minisheet:

Australian Native Bonsai Minisheet

The Australian Native Bonsai minisheet consists of the three stamps from the issue incorporated into a miniature stamp sheet.

Maxicard set:

Set of Australian Native Bonsai Maxicards

This maxicard set contains the three maxicards from the Australian Native Bonsai stamp issue.

Additional products:

This content was produced at the time of the stamp issue release date and will not be updated.