The Tree of 40 fruit looks like a normal tree for most of the year with one exception; it reveals an array of stone fruits during summer season – plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries and almonds. Each branch of the tree hosts a rare fruit with unique properties.
This incredible fruit tree is the creation of contemporary artist and Syracuse University art professor Sam Van Aken, who grew up on a family farm in Reading, Pennsylvania. He had an innate ability to get inspired by nature.
In 2008, Aken bought an orchard at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station which was about to get shut down due to lack of funding. The art professor quickly realized the importance of the rare fruit varieties being produced by 150 to 200 years old trees at the orchard. In order to preserve the fruits, he spent the following years grafting fruits onto a single tree.
Van Aken developed a timeline for blossoming periods of fruits from a pool of 250 stone varieties. Based on these timelines, he grafted few fruits onto a growing tree branches. Once the tree was two years old, he added more fruit varieties on separate branches.
This technique used for implanting fruits on individual branches of other tree is called chip grafting. In this technique, a slice of fruit with the bud is taken and inserted into a slit opening of a growing tree branch. The grafted region is taped into place and it heals during the winter season.
The beautiful tree Professor grew preserves a variety of stone fruits; most of which never reach the local market on account of commercial inadequacy.
Van Aken has so far grown 16 “Tree of 40 Fruits” which have been planted in museums, community centers and private art collections all across the US.
Van Aken also gave a TED talk about it, which you can (ofcourse) watch from the link below: