The Grey barked elm, Zelkova serrata, is known in Japan as Keaki . The Zelkovas are a small genus of small trees allied to the Ulmus or Elms. Z. serrata is really one of the classic deciduous bonsai subjects of Japan.
It is native to the far east and was introduced into the UK in 1861. It acclimatises well to our conditions and as it’s classic status suggests has very good bonsai characteristics.
This example was almost certainly grown in this country rather than imported from Japan. Whilst the typical style for the species may be Broom, this one is more on an informal upright. And what a classically, tall and elegant image is in the making with this bonsai, nearly there already in fact, I really like this tree. Yes, it is possible to criticise the less than perfect nebari or root spread but the tree has much else going for it despite this. It does in fact well represent many of the deciduous tree images that we see in the landscape around us, particularly in hedgerows or parkland. It takes a lot of years to produce a bonsai of this stature with this species, indeed the tree came from the collection of a lady who has been in the hobby for well over 30 years but ill health forced her, not to give up as she has kept 20 or more bonsai, but to reduce her numbers significantly. The tree is tall at 73 cm in height, branches spread to 50 cm. The trunk base is 6 to 7 cm. in diam. Look at the leaf size on this bonsai, admittedly they are just emerging but still they are very neat. The pot is a Japanese rectangular ceramic 38x27x7 cm.