SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Plums, peaches, nectarines and cherries all grow on just one of Sam Van Aken’s fruit trees. The trees blossom in a riot of red, white and pink each spring.
The artist calls his creations the Tree of 40 Fruit. And the tree at Syracuse University, and others like it, really does bear 40 or more varieties of stone fruit, thanks to carefully planned grafts.
The hybrid trees provide both juicy fruit and food for thought about preserving agricultural heritage. But most of all, Van Aken wants to provoke a response.
“When somebody happens upon it and they see it blossom in these different colours and they see it growing all these different fruit … there’s this rethinking, there’s this sort of moment that sort of interrupts the everyday,” said Van Aken, who teaches art at the university.
Van Aken’s first 40-fruit tree has been located for the past four years…
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