by Morenike Adebayo
photo credit: Artist’s impression of The Tree of 40 Fruit. Sam Van Aken/Ronald Feldman Fine Art
The enchanted-looking tree above harbors a wondrous secret.
Using an ancient technique called “chip grafting,” artist and Syracuse University professor Sam Van Aken has carefully nurtured trees that can bear over 40 different types of stone fruits, including peaches, nectarines, apricots and almonds.
The process is one of patience: Over several years, Van Aken splices branches with buds of various varieties into a base branch called the “working tree.”
By springtime, the “Tree of 40 Fruit” sprouts pink and purple blossoms. In the summer, the tree begins to bear fruit of all kinds.
“Part of the idea behind the Tree of 40 Fruit was to plant them in locations that people would stumble upon them,” said Van Aken speaking to National Geographic in the video below. “And once they happened upon one of these trees, they would start to question ‘Why are the leaves shaped differently?’ ‘Why are they different colors?’”
Dozens of these trees have been planted around the U.S. You can find out here if a Tree of 40 Fruit is near you.
[H/T: National Geographic]