Tuesday, September 15, 2015

RANDOM FACT #2 - There's a TREE that Grows 40 Different Fruits

Actually, there are more than a dozen of them, but each tree is called the Tree of 40 Fruit since each unique tree grows over forty different types of stone fruit including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries and almonds - all possible through a process called "chip grafting", developed by contemporary artist Sam Van Aken.

Artist rendition
Sam Van Aken, an artist and professor at Syracuse University, uses "chip grafting" to create trees that each bear 40 different varieties of stone fruits, or fruits with pits. The grafting process involves slicing a bit of a branch with a bud from a tree of one of the varieties and inserting it into a slit in a branch on the "working tree," then wrapping the wound with tape until it heals and the bud starts to grow into a new branch. Over several years he adds slices of branches from other varieties to the working tree. In the spring the "Tree of 40 Fruit" has blossoms in many hues of pink and purple, and in the summer it begins to bear the fruits in sequence—Van Aken says it's both a work of art and a time line of the varieties' blossoming and fruiting. He's created more than a dozen of the trees that have been planted at sites such as museums around the U.S., which he sees as a way to spread diversity on a small scale.

Primarily composed of native and antique varieties the Tree of 40 Fruit preserves heirloom stone fruit varieties that are not commercially produced or available.

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