This Magical Tree Is A Farmer’s Market On Branches

Courtesy of Sam Van Aken/National Geographic
Covered in pink and crimson flowers, the Tree Of 40 Fruit seems straight out of the planet Pandora. It seems even more otherworldly when you learn that it bears, true to its namesake, a whopping 40 variations of heirloom stone fruits — such as cherries, peaches, plums, and almonds.

Created and cultivated by artist and Syracuse University professor Sam Van Aken, the project first started for reasons of pure curiosity: Why not play around with tree grafting in a personal nursery and make something cool? Van Aken told National Geographic that his curiosity on the subject has deep, um, roots: "When I'd seen it done as a child, it was Dr. Seuss and Frankenstein and just about everything fantastic."

The University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture defines graftage as "the joining of a bud or shoot to a plant with an established root system." In Van Aken's creations, he uses tape to adhere shoots, waiting until the cut essentially "heals" itself and fuses onto the main tree. And sadly, like other human-bred hybrids, the Tree Of 40 Fruit cannot reproduce on its own.

The mad-scientist mentality is very much alive in Van Aken, as he meticulously draws diagrams for each tree to map out all of the grafts added, adding notes on when and how grafts should bloom. After approximately nine years of grafting and growing, what results from each diagram is nothing short of performance art — a living timeline of sorts for the many varieties of spring and summer fruit.

There are now over a dozen Trees Of 40 Fruit spanning the country, located in museums and parks for people to stumble upon.

Van Aken's own website declares that the trees are meant to be simple catalysts: "Like the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, these trees are a potential; they are the beginning of a narrative that transforms the site they are located in." We can certainly take a cue from the Tree of 40 Fruit; maybe we should take the time to stop and smell the cherry (and plum and peach and almond) blossoms more often.
Advertisement
Courtesy of Sam Van Aken/National Geographic
Advertisement

More from Tech

Remember when dorm drama just meant your roommate eating the last of your Oreos without asking, or talking on the phone too loudly while you were trying ...
Chrissy Teigen, the model turned TV host turned cookbook author, has amassed Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat followings in the millions. The secret to ...
A Google search for "mooning" pulls up expected results: some news articles about protestors pulling down their pants, and the formal dictionary definition...
GENERATION STARTUP presents Women In Tech, an episode of an exclusive web series with footage left on the cutting room floor. The feature documentary ...
Pokémon Go was this year's biggest app sensation. Within 24 hours of its launch, the game became a mega hit and has since seen users walking billions of ...
For the second time this month, earthlings of the Western Hemisphere will experience a special event involving our moon. Earlier this month, we got our ...
If you want to look up information about your favorite celebrities, your first instinct is probably to google them. But depending on who you're curious ...
(Paid Content) Refinery29 is now on Versy, a messaging and content-sharing app made for busy people like us
Complaining today is much easier than it used to be. Lost luggage, bad service, extra charges, broken products — you used to have to put a letter in the ...
It's Google's 18th birthday which means it can finally see all the porn it serves up
Tonight marks the first of three presidential debates between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Because of the debate's close proximity to New...
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) developed a phone app that will assist you in recording and reporting police conduct. The app, Mobile Justice, ...
If you aren't registered to vote, don't panic. As a matter of fact, thanks to Snapchat, you can now do it in just one minute, reports Time. The social-...
You may start to notice your Uber drivers snapping a lot of selfies, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you're riding with an Instagram addict. Your ...