18. Michael Feduccia
Plant City, Florida
This tree was collected in south Florida in the early 80's by Joe Samuels, one of the early pioneers of bonsai in Florida. In my humble opinion, it is by far one of the best representations of the larger buttonwoods that reside on the rocky islands of the Florida Keys that I have seen, and is one the oldest collected specimens that I have encountered. Some of the trees I find most inspiring stand alone on small coral rock islands off the coast in the Atlantic ocean. They show a true will to survive in the face of adversity, overcoming the lack of a constant fresh water supply. Only to be replenished when a rain shower passes through saturating the stone in which they live. Gripping the coral tightly over the centuries as hurricanes push through, threatening to rip them away from their rocky perch, and still they hold on. They are inundated with salt day after day, and have adapted to excrete the excess through specialized glands at the base of their leaves. Living on the ragged edge of life and death, they exude strength and beauty while sharing the story of their constant struggle through the scars that they have earned. It is my hope to capture this image, if only a glimpse, and to allow the viewer to see this species in all it's glory as I have kayaking the ocean waters.
Buttonwood / Conocarpus erectus
Estimated Age: 150-200 years old
Time in Training: 3 years
Container: Ron Lang (USA)
Stand: Austin Heitzman (USA)