This Wondrous Tree Grows 40 Types Of Fruit

Artist Sam Van Aken's magical experiment preserves antique varieties. | By NGT Staff  
Tree of 40
An artist rendering of the Tree of 40 Fruit. Photo: National Geographic/YouTube

Peaches, plums, apricots, almonds and cherries are some of the 40 different types of stone fruit that can grow on a single tree, as developed by Sam Van Aken, artist and art professor at New York’s Syracuse University. The Tree of 40 Fruit bursts into a riot of blooms in the spring, but the artwork is more than a study in beauty – it’s also an effort to preserve native and antique varieties of stone fruit that are less commercially viable.

In the video below, Aken talks to National Geographic about the process of grafting various branches onto a single tree, and how he created a timeline of the blossoming varieties in order to sculpt how the tree would bloom as a whole. It takes about eight to nine years for a Tree of 40 Fruit to grow, and each has its own diagram mapped out. Aken has crafted more than a dozen of these trees that have been planted at museums and other sites across the US. Watch it all unfold below.

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