Yamadori: Trees Collected in the Wild

Lee Cheatle

Yamadori is a term used by the Japanese to describe trees collected from the wild. However if you look into the subject further you will see that it also means much more, and that much more is difficult to put into words. Many terms from other cultures are difficult to give a simple interpretation.

The term Yamadori has a lot to do with the character and the age of the tree. To the Japanese, not every tree dug from the wild, the mountains or the forest is considered a Yamadori. The tree needs to show the battle scars of having survived generations of harsh elements: deep fissured bark, jin and shari, twisted trunk and branches is what makes a Yamadori. Trees with these characteristics are not easily located and often not easily collected. Yamadori to the Japanese is not a name given easily. However in the West, as usual, we have a tendency to go with the basic translation. Often we have termed Yamadori as any tree collected in the wild and even to the extent of calling old garden trees that we dig from around houses as Yamadori.