Pinus parviflora 'Azuma' / Azuma-goyo Japanese white pine

Pinus parviflora var. pentaphylla 'Azuma' is a slow-growing, pyramidal dwarf selection of Japanese white pine with silver-blue incurved needles held forward around the buds on the shoot ends. After 10 years of growth, a mature specimen will measure 24 inches (60 cm) tall and 16 inches (40 cm) wide, an annual growth rate of 1.5 to 2.5 inches (4 - 6 cm). The result is a nice irregular dwarf pine in the landscape.

Stanley & Sons nursery, Boring, Oregon describes 'Azuma' as follows, "a dwarf form of Japanese white pine. Plant has some of the Bluest needles we have seen. Plant is a real dwarf just growing about 1 to 3 inches a year. Very nice plant for Bonsai work. Great for troughs too!"

Although the precise history of this cultivar is unknown, it is known to have been recorded in Japan as early as 1976. It is derived from a local provenance from Fukushima and Yamagata prefectures in Japan. A synonym commonly seen in the nursery trade is 'Azuma-goyo.' The use of the word "goyo" in Japanese white pine cultivar names is considered to be redundant because it is simply a translation for 5-needled pine.

Attribution from: Aris Auders and Derek Spicer, RHS Encylopedia of Conifers, ©2012, Kingsblue Publishing

Pinus parviflora var Pentaphylla 'Azuma' — donation from Daniel Wols, 2007.
Photo by Daniel Wols
Pinus parviflora var. pentaphylla 'Azuma' in Maine 2013.
Photo by Wynne Keller
15 year old specimen of Pinus parviflora var. pentaphylla 'Azuma' in the conifer collection of Dennis Groh.
Photo by Dennis Groh


Dennis Groh

The World Checklist of Conifers:
Lists the proper cultivar name for this plant as 'Azuma-goyo'. It was introduced from Japan about 1976. It is a slow growing dwarf. Leaves silver blue, held forward around the buds on the shoot ends. 'Azuma-goyo is from the provenance of Fukushima and Yamagata Prefectures.

Azuma translates to Eastern Japan and Fukushima and Yamagata Prefectures would be in Eastrn Japan. Goyo translates to five leaves/needle see below.

goyōmatsu (五葉松 Pinus parviflora, Pinus pentaphylla, Japanese white pine): its prefix goyō (五葉) is based on the observation this pine’s needles (modified leaves) are in a grouping or fascicle composed of five (go,五) needles (leaf 葉) which are shorter, denser and blue/grey in color than other pines.

Heath Rayburn

I have a 6 year old pent. Azuma “Crashing Wave” I was wondering about the care or pruning for it for the summer and winter in Auburn, Alabama. Thanks, Heath

Maxwell Cohn

Hi Heath, aesthetic pruning of Japanese pines is an art form, and simply can't be explained in few sentences on an online forum such as this. Since Aesthetic Pruning (Niwaki) shares many of the concepts of Bonsai, recommend that you seek out a local Bonsai enthusiasts group and start learning the art.

I'm not familiar with the term "crashing wave." It's definitely not a cultivar name. Is that how it's been pruned up to this poing.

Regarding your plant's survival in Alabama, you're going to need a system to protect it from the heat and sun. Again, it's not an easy question to answer because you didn't say if it's potted or planted out in the ground.