One man’s art project could be the future of conservation. An art professor has set out to create a tree that could bear several different fruits at the same time. The result is the Tree of 40 Fruit, and it could change the way fruits will be harvested in the future.
Sam Van Aken is an art professor at Syracuse University in New York who once thought that tree branches being grafted and grown onto other trees were similar to Frankenstein’s monster. However, he soon grew fascinated with the idea and decided to apply the process to an art project. This led to Van Aken creating the Tree of 40 Fruit, from which a single tree can produce 40 different stone fruits (fruit with pits) including peaches, apricots, plums, cherries, and nectarines.
The Tree of 40 Fruit is certainly colorful when it blooms.
To create a single tree, Van Aken uses chip grafting, where buds are cut off a fruit tree and allowed to heal to the lateral branches of a rootstock tree. This would lead to branches from the fruit tree to grow on the rootstock tree and allowing fruit to grow in areas where they normally cannot survive. Van Aken has already planted several trees in different states around the country.
Van Aken takes pride in his creation considering that it turns trees into art and also helps in conservation of certain fruits.
“I look at the Tree of 40 Fruit as an artwork, a research project and a form of conservation,” he said.
Several fruits live in harmony on Van Aken’s creation.
Van Aken’s creations are certainly changing the way people look at trees. A tree that was planted at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose is part of the organization’s environmental education program.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for children to interact with an art piece that also produces fruit,” Autumn Young, the museum’s marketing manager said of the tree. “It’s a teaching opportunity.”
Van Aken has planted trees in Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Learn more about the Tree of 40 Fruit below:
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