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This ONE tree grows 40 different fruits!

Tree of 40 Fruit (Image: www.samvanaken.com)

Tree of 40 Fruit (Image: www.samvanaken.com)


Dalia Ibrahim
Digital Reporter

Friday, July 25, 2014, 8:37 PM -

Imagine throwing together the ultimate fruit salad, complete with a variety of fresh picked fruits including peaches, cherries, apricots and nectarines. Now imagine you could get all those healthy delights from one singular tree. Sounds futuristic, doesn't it? 

Well, in the contemporary art world, the future is now. 

Sculpted through the process of grafting, award-winning contemporary artist and Syracuse University art professor Sam Van Aken has managed to grow 40 different types of fruits on one single tree. Each tree begins as a slightly peculiar-looking specimen resembling some kind of science experiment, and for about a year, looks like just any other tree. 

Chip budding (Image: rhs.org.uk)

Chip budding (Image: rhs.org.uk)

At first, the artist combines a few types onto the structure of a single tree, allowing his "working tree" to mature to at least two years old. Once matured, Van Aken begins to add more varieties to the limbs in a sequence called "chip grafting." He inserts a budding branch into the working tree, then tapes -- yes, he uses actual tape -- a sliver of a fruit tree (one with a bud) into the incision and allows it heal over the winter months. Then, he prunes the new branch and watches as it begins to grow as part of the worker tree.

The entire process takes about five years per tree, and has yielded 16 "Trees of 40 fruit" which can be seen in museums, community centres and private art collections across the United States. 


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Van Aken's trees produce an incredible harvest of plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, and almonds, including many you've likely never seen before. 

Not only that, the tree itself blossoms into a striking array of colours unlike any other plant known to man. 

To learn more, watch the video below as Aken discusses his project and how the tree came to be, explaining what motivated him and showing the amazing fruits he’s been receiving from the tree. 

Visit samvanaken.com to learn more about the artist's innovative endeavors.

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