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Man Creates a tree Which Grows 40 Different Fruits

Just imagine, all the fruit you buy from your local farmer’s market can now be plucked from a single tree. All this is thanks to Sam Van Aken, an artist and professor at Syracuse University. He uses a technique called “chip grafting” to create hybridized trees, each of which can bear 40 different varieties of “stone fruits” (fruits with pits).

Chip grafting is a process that involves slicing together a piece of the tree’s branch with a bud from another tree. The bud is then inserted into the working tree’s branch slit. This is then wrapped with tape until the “wound heals” and the bud starts growing into a new branch. Over the course of several years Van Aken added slices of branches from other varieties to the first branch.

According to Van Aken, this is something he became fascinated with as a child while growing up on his parents’ farm. Last year in a TEDx Manhattan talk he said that when he’d “seen it done as a child it was Dr. Seuss and Frankenstein and just about everything fantastic.” Now he’s finally seeing his idea come to fruition as he’s created a tree with different varieties of stone fruits growing in tandem on this one tree. In fact, throughout the spring his tree has blossoms in many hues of pink and purple that then bare fruit throughout the summer.

This is something he’s really proud of too, as he’s featured it in many of his art pieces. The artwork shows elaborate timelines of when the different varieties of fruit blossom, allowing him to show how the trees flower and fruit.

All this work is a part of his ongoing project entitled “Tree of 40 Fruit,” a project he started seven years ago. It’s only now, years later, that contemporary artist Van Aken believes many of his first hybrids are coming into their peek blossoms and fruits. This is something he’s talking to National Geographic about and has also created more than a dozen of the trees that he’s planted at various sites around the U.S. (including museums). He sees this as a way for him to spread diversity on a small-scale.

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