Sam Van Aken, an art professor from Syracuse University, has taken his talent to the extreme. He has developed the astonishing Tree of 40 Fruits. Yes, according to Science Alert, there is now an astonishing tree that can bear up to 40 different stone fruits each year.
Some of those fruits include peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, nectarines, and hopefully this year it will even produce almonds.
Having grown up on a farm in Pennsylvania, Van Aken was quick to jump into action in 2008 when he learned that an orchard from New York State Agricultural Experiment Station was going to shut down due to lack of funding, as reported by Elite Daily.
This orchard, during its heyday, was one of the largest producers of stone fruits. Science Alert reveals that “this single orchard grew a great number of heirloom, antique, and native varieties of stone fruit, and some of these were 150 to 200 years old. To lose this orchard would render many of these rare and old varieties of fruit extinct.”
Van Aken believed this would be a great tragedy. So, he picked up the lease on the property and preserved it until he determined what he would do with all the varieties of the stone fruits.
Over the next few years, Aken learned how to graft parts of the trees into a single fruit tree. The process is mesmerizing as Van Aken explains in great detail. The first task was for Aken to create a timeline as to when each different stone fruit would blossom and began grafting a few into a working tree’s structure.
Science Alert explains that once the tree is about two years old, Van Aken would use a technique called chip grafting in order to add additional varieties on as separate branches. “This technique involves taking a sliver off a fruit tree that includes the bud, and inserting that into an incision in the working tree. It’s then taped into place, and left to sit and heal over winter. If all goes well, the branch will be pruned back to encourage it to grow as a normal branch on the working tree,” as recorded by Science Alert.
It took about five years for the tree to be completely developed, and while it looks like a normal tree during the winter months, in the spring it transforms into a beautiful array of wild colors consisting of pinks, purples, whites and reds. It is quite the spectacle.
A popular question for Van Aken is what happens with all the excess of fruit that is produced by the Tree of 40 Fruits? Van Aken’s tells Lauren Salkeld at Epicurious,
“I’ve been told by people that have [a tree] at their home that it provides the perfect amount and perfect variety of fruit. 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.”
If you are wanting to see the Tree of 40 Fruits in person, there have been sixteen of them planted and grown at various community centers, museums, and private art collections in the cities of California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Arkansas, per Elite Daily.
Photo Credit: Treeof40Fruit.com