Sculptor Sam Van Aken, an associate professor at Syracuse University, poses for a photo in 2011 with the trees he was developing to bear 40 different varieties of fruit. Your support makes a difference. And when it reaches full maturity, it will have the capacity to grow some 40 different kinds of stone fruit—plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds. "And it's like, 'No, it won't. "I saw somewhere on a website where somebody said that the Tree of 40 Fruit will end world hunger," he said. For me, there’s much more power in a metaphor than there is in a technology. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. When he learned it was to be abandoned, he picked up the lease and began experimenting with "sculpture through grafting.". But yeah, it's overwhelming," Van Aken said. "It's a number that always seems to recur in the Bible. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are as essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Growing multiple stone fruits, like peaches or plums, on one tree is possible because what Van Aken does, perhaps better than anybody, is graft. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. The one on campus was the first of its kind, created in 2008 and dedicated in 2011 during a University 9/11 remembrance event as a symbol of acceptance and dialogue across differences. The various fruits of the “Tree of 40 fruit”. Artist rendering of The Tree of 40 Fruits. "There's a pastor in Norfolk, Virginia that did a sermon," he said. But what it can do is, I like to think, that it can lead to that type of thinking.". The Tree of 40 Fruit has been growing for nine years. Sam Van Aken is associate professor of art at Syracuse University and is represented by Ronald Feldman Arts. He also keeps diagrams and bloom charts of each tree. He started by grafting vegetables together, but vegetables don't last. Once the vascular systems of the plants fuse, they grow as though a single tree. "It's kind of a feat to pull off here," he said. Do you have a story/photo for us? Aken had already prepared the tree for this process by conducting a few graftings onto the root system. The piece is taped and then heals over the winter, becoming a part of the same tree as both fruits continue to grow. Van Aken acknowledges the biblical implications of his tree. Some of Van Aken's 40-fruit trees were exhibited in The Armory Show in New York City this spring, and some art collectors have planted his trees. Van Aken, 39, grew up on a farm in Reading, Pa., that had a peach orchard behind the house. "It's a number that represents bounty. "Forty is a number that became significant throughout Western religion," he said. Van Aken, who grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, told ABC the fruits ripen at different times between July and October, and all are edible. Fourteen are installed around the country, most in public places, like Van Aken's at the center of the Syracuse campus -- alive and edible. The little you learn opens up more possibilities.". He's working on about 50 trees, although not all of those are 40-fruit trees. "And a big part of the sermon was using The Tree of 40 Fruit as a symbol. November 13, 2016: Planting eight trees which will bloom in Spring 2017. are not commercially produced or available. For more unusual stories & intriguing news follow STSTW Media on Instagram and Facebook. "To get to the 40, I'll return for three years after the tree is planted and keep grafting," he said, including the tree that will be planted at SU. "When I started, it was a matter of essentially collapsing an entire orchard down onto one tree. Sam Van Aken starts by growing a plum tree and then adds branches from peach, nectarine, cherry, plum and apricot trees to produce a single tree that will bear 40 varieties of fruit. An orchard renowned for producing various native American and heirloom stone fruits on the verge of existence at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station was shutting down due to lack of funding when Aken stepped in. "You get better at it, and quicker," he said. Courtesy Sam Van Aken, Plum and apricot leaves are grown on a single tree by sculptor Sam Van Aken. That was the practical application for it. He's also done battle with Japanese beetles. Limiting himself to exclusively stone fruit trees ensured that the grafts Aken was working with were compatible with each other. So far, he estimates he's done 1,200 grafts. If you find the above article inaccurate or biased, please let us know at [email protected]. Van Aken chose 40 because it's a number that appears often in the Bible, he said. A computer program randomly selects an audio clip and sends to the speaker. "And the more I find out, the less I know. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. But when spring finds its way to Central New York, something magical happens. Meet the Rainbow Colour Eucalyptus Tree—Native to the Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, Saving the Kakapo – The World’s Strangest Parrot, The Manchineel Tree: One of the Most Toxic and Dangerous Tree in the World, The Silky Anteater: The Nocturnal Dweller of the Tropical Rainforests, Xylaria Polymorpha: A Macabre Mushroom that Resembles a Dead Man’s Fingers, Drinking a Glass of Wine Laced With Snake Blood & Beating Heart of a Freshly Killed Snake. I was hand picking three dozen a day.". Aken conducted his project of creating the Tree of 40 Fruit in the orchard he bought, experimenting with approximately 250 varieties of stone fruit trees he had at his disposal. ", According to the Daily Mail, the project began in 2008 when he discovered an orchard at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva that had more than 200 varieties of plums and apricots. He bought the orchard in 2008 and thus began the journey towards creating the Tree of 40 Fruit. Syracuse University Professor Sam Van Aken is the proud father of a single tree that grows 40 types of fruit. He ties or tapes the branches until they're grown together. Gloria Wright / The Post-Standard, Sam Van Aken has created a series of drawings to show what his Tree of 40 Fruit will look like in two, five and 10 years. But if nothing else, the tree is pretty fascinating food for thought. “And this one orchard in particular contained all the heirloom, native, hybrid, and antique varieties from this agricultural industry.”. “They all maintain their own genetic variety”, Aken says about the various species housed within a single Tree of 40 Fruit. 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