A single tree that can produce 40 different stone fruits, or fruit with pits, including peaches, apricots, almonds, plums, cherries and nectarines.

The Tree of 40 Fruit is a creation of Syracuse University sculptor Sam Van Aken. He made the plant by grafting bud from various fruits trees onto the branches of a single tree, making it capable of producing multiple types of fruit. The image above is a rendering of what a ten year old Tree of 40 Fruit would look like in full bloom.

The creation process involves cutting the buds off a fruit tree and having them heal to the lateral branches of a rootstock tree. Branches from the different fruit trees grow off of the rootstock, which is typically a tree variety natural to the area’s climate and soil. This allows fruit to be grown in areas that might not otherwise support that type of tree.

Van Aken has planted 16 trees in seven states across the USA (Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania), using more than 250 varieties of stone fruit. Each tree has a different combination of heirloom varieties. It has become a conservation project, too, since commercial markets have reduced the diversity of available stone fruits.

Story via CNN

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