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Witness the Astonishing Tree of 40 Fruit

Witness the Astonishing Tree of 40 Fruit

Syracuse University Art Professor Sam Van Aken has taken tree grafting to the next level with his Tree of 40 Fruit project.

Van Aken has created and placed 16 unique versions of his Tree of 40 Fruit, which produces a wide variety of fruits including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds; which Van Aken primarily selected from native and antique varieties of fruit that are not available to buy on the consumer market.

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“In trying to find different varieties of stone fruit to create the Tree of 40 Fruit, I realized that for various reasons, including industrialization and the creation of enormous monocultures, we are losing diversity in food production and that heirloom, antique, and native varieties that were less commercially viable were disappearing,” said Van Aken. “I saw this as an opportunity to, in some way, preserve these varieties. In addition to maintaining these varieties in my nursery, I graft them to the Tree of 40 Fruit.”

Each Tree of 40 Fruit takes five years for Van Aken to finish the creation process. Starting with a two year old working tree, Van Aken uses a technique called chip grafting to add different varieties of fruit on separate branches. In the spring, Van Aken’s completed trees bloom with pink, crimson and white flowers. And in the summer, they bear an amazing bounty of fruit.

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“I’ve been told by people that have [a tree] at their home that it provides the perfect amount and perfect variety of fruit,” related Van Aken. “So rather than having one variety that produces more than you know what to do with, it provides good amounts of each of the 40 varieties. Since all of these fruit ripen at different times, from July through October, you also aren’t inundated.”

Van Aken added that he wants “to continue to place these trees throughout the country preserving these heirloom, antique, and native fruit varieties. Wherever I place them there is a sense of wonderment that they create through their blossoms, the different fruit, and the process by which they are created.”

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Nerdist readers, share your impressions of the Tree of 40 Fruit in the comment section below!

HT: EpicCurious

Photo Credits: Sam Van Aken

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