I have a Brazilian raintree that I acquired several years ago when an acquaintance no longer wanted it. It is a nice tree with thorns – which can be cut off – and small compound leaves. A few years ago I found a small section of bark – perhaps one by two inches – laying on the soil surface. My assumption was that some squirrel or chipmunk had torn it off. Aside from a big bare spot on the trunk, the tree seemed to be OK. Then, in the last six months large sections of bark have begun separating from the trunk, causing some distress – if not for the tree, then for the tree owner. This is the only Brazilian raintree that I have ever owned so I had no firsthand knowledge of its growth. Was some insect or pathogen causing the bark to split and separate from the trunk? Again, the tree seemed to be okay in all other respects. After searching the internet I discovered that this species has exfoliating bark. So, while this put my mind at ease a bit, I’m not sure I like the looks of it. It appears ‘untidy’. And because it is only (currently) on the lowest, oldest portion of the trunk it looks weird – shaggy bark on the bottom and smooth bark above.
The bonsaimary web site has more on this species, some of which is reproduced here:
“The words Brazilian rain tree bonsai and Jim Moody are frequently spoken in the same breath.
The first of these rain trees used as bonsai in the U.S. was grown from seed by the late Jim Moody of Jupiter, FL. The seeds were brought to him in 1978 by his sister-in-law.
She was a nurse at the American Embassy in Brazil. When Jim saw what a beautiful tree developed from his seeds, he began propagating it from cuttings.”
Read more: Brazilian Rain Tree Bonsai