40 Different Fruits on Single Tree



Plums, apricots, plums, nectarines, cherries – they’re among 40 separate kinds of stone-fruit growing from a single tree – the Trees of 40 Fruit – is part of a project by Syracuse University’s art department’s associate professor Sam Can Aken started in 2008. He modified the plant to create this horticultural wonder.

“As a symbolic number found throughout western religion, culture, and even within government,” Van Aken’s website reads, “the number 40 symbolises the infinite, a bounty that is beyond calculation. 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.”

Having just completed grafting vegetables with flowers in a project called Eden, the artist was asked to design an orchard. But the project could not be continued when finances fell short. Still, since he wanted to carry on, he resolved to graft all the trees in the orchard in only one tree.

He then launched himself into the tedious process of gathering the scions (which cuttings or shoots) of the required trees. Then he worked the sections into like-sized cuts on the selected tree before being bandaged into place. After that the cutting is takes time to heal into the tree so that it can draw nutrition, especially water, as the regular branches of the tree do.

When the tree blossoms, it has a variety of shades – crimson, white and pink in the months of spring – while it bears all sorts of fruits in summer. Van Aken’s art project of Trees of 40 Fruits is not merely aimed at creating horticultural beauty but has the more practical purpose of reviving heirloom fruit varieties.


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