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Aug 3, 2014 10:33 AM

Tree of Forty Fruits

Syracuse artist Sam van Aken was interviewed on NPR this morning. His current project involves creating grafted trees that produce 40 types of plums, apricots, almonds, peaches, nectarines, and cherries. Initially he was interested in the multicolor blooms but once he realized how many heirloom and experimental varieties of fruit are threatened with extinction, his focus shifted to getting these trees spread across the country.

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    1. Wow! I want it!
      Forget hypercolor ice cream; even if it failed to produce a single edible item, I would still want this tree just because it's beautiful on its own.

      1. That is gorgeous and I'd love to see it in fruit.

        7 Replies
        1. re: rasputina

          Did you watch the TED talk linked to in the article? It shows the tree in at least one stage of fruiting. Of course, one of the many beauties of this tree is that it fruits at different times so you're not overwhelmed with the 40 (or more) varieties all at once.

          The talk itself is interesting; the tree, fascinating. I can't wait to hear if the almonds actually materialize.

          There is apparently one of these trees in Short Hills, New Jersey; I'd love to know exactly where it is so I could go see it. Of course, it could be on private or corporate owned property and I might not even be able to get near it.

          1. re: mcsheridan

   This link includes a bunch of photos of the fruited branches, and a breakdown of where the trees are. It describes the process, which entails semi-annual tinkering from Van Aken. No prices mentioned but it seems a safe assumption that these trees are not where the public has easy access.

            1. re: greygarious

              I wound up on his website, where you can see more photos of the tree sites, the blossoms, and some of the fruits. As you say - easy access, not likely. I did sign up for updates I'd love to hear more about this project. If I just happen to hit the Mega Millions lottery then maybe I could know more.

              In the meantime, paupers like me can only pant & drool.

            2. re: mcsheridan

              It is beautiful! Seems weird that the different parts would flower at the same time if they fruit at different times. Maybe the article explains, haven't gotten to that yet.

              1. re: tcamp

                It doesn't say how many varieties are actually on THAT particular tree. Could be fewer. Also, some of those may still be in the partially-opened bud stage - especially the darkest ones - and other petals might be about to fall. Clearly, the tree is being stringently maintained; petals would be whisked away the instant they hit the ground.

                I really loathe most shades of pink but even I think this tree is breathtaking. :-)

                1. re: greygarious

                  The picture is an artist rendering by Sam Van Aken.

                  1. re: MplsM ary

                    So much for my going to Hoboken (which is where this rendering is backgrounded) to see this tree up close and personal. I should've known better.