Many people have a misconception about what bonsai really is. The typical question that many people ask is: “Is bonsai its own type of tree?”
No, bonsai is a kind of craft or living art form. Techniques including surface planting, pruning, defoliation, grafting, and root reduction, along with wiring the trunks and branches to desired shapes, all help create the appearance of a mature tree in miniature.
With the right care, a bonsai can last for centuries, but even a relatively young plant can give the illusion of great age. The Lars Anderson Bonsai Collection at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston has some bonsai trees from the 18th century.