This Breathtaking Tree Is Growing 40 Different Types Of Fruits
Although this tree looks like something out of a whimsical fairytale, it’s about to be the real deal. Sam Van Aken, a professor at Syracuse University, is currently growing a gorgeous tree that can produce 40 different types of stone fruits. The art professor began this project in 2008 after grafting vegetables together for an art exhibit.
“First and foremost, I see the tree as an artwork,” explains Van Aken. “Like the hoaxes I was doing, I want the tree to interrupt and transform the everyday. When the tree unexpectedly blossoms in different colors, or you see these different types of fruit hanging from its branches, it not only changes the way you look at it, but it changes the way you perceive [things] in general.”
Since these trees are obviously not found in nature, Van Aken created them using a chip grafting method. Every February, Van Aken travels throughout New York State collecting 12 to 18″ sections from various stone fruit trees. Van Aken selected stone fruits because of their capability and the wide number of varieties there are. Each spring, the pieces are grafted onto the new tree where the buds heal and emerge as new growth. The tree then grows the new graft, turning each branch into different varieties of fruit.
Although you won’t yet see these trees growing on any old street corner, there are currently 12 trees scattered across the United States from California to Maine in museums, universities, and even in a few people’s backyards. And the process certainly isn’t instant. Each tree takes about five years to begin producing the fruit.
The focus of Van Aken’s project is to show how nature and art interact. In the future, Van Aken hopes to display a small grove of these glorious trees in a more urban setting. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the day when I’m walking downtown and get to pass by these living, growing works of art! Better yet, imagine having one in your very own backyard!