A tree that Sam Van Aken grows might look like any other—until it blooms. First, its branches blossom in different shades of pink, white and crimson, and then, quite magically, the tree displays a mix of fruit.
Van Aken’s Tree of 40 Fruit, an invention that’s just what it sounds like, is capable of producing 40 different varieties of fruit—plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries and others. The 42-year-old sculptor and art professor at Syracuse University created his first multi-fruit tree back in 2008, by grafting together branches from different trees. He intended to produce a piece of natural art that would transform itself. He thought of the tree as a sculpture, because he could, based on what he grafted where, determine how it morphed.
Today, there are 18 of these wondrous trees across the country, with three more being planted this spring in Illinois, Michigan and California. Seven are located in New York—including the very first Tree of 40 Fruit that’s still on the Syracuse campus—and six more are in a small grove in Portland, Maine. Other individual trees, reportedly costing up to $30,000, have been purchased for private homes and museums, such as the 21C Museum/Hotel in Bentonville, Arkansas. That one, says Van Aken, may be the “most beloved” of his trees. “From the day it was planted,” he says, “it seemed to have some draw for people.” READ FULL ARTICLE HERE https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/a-tree-grows-40-different-types-of-fruit-180953868/