Cap’N Dave sent over this video of a truly unique project from Sam Van Aken at Syracuse University. Sam is an artist with a passion – a passion for stone fruit. By day, he’s an Associate Professor of Sculpture. But his latest sculpture is more at home in the fruit orchard than in the art gallery.
Sam has a strong interest in grafting, and his “Tree of 40 Fruits” shows it. Onto each tree, he grafts buds from 40 different varieties of stone fruit, including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds. He focuses on native and antique varieties of stone fruit, and he says that the project is, in part, about preserving heirloom varieties that are not used commercially. The process to create one tree takes 8 to 9 years.
The spring bloom on these trees must be truly amazing, with all shades of white, pink, and peach blooming in sequence. And the summer harvest must feel like a gift that just keeps on giving, as each ripening variety is followed by another – 40 times over.
But, as a naturally skeptic soul, I can’t help but wonder if this really a good idea… I assume that the pollination rates are staggeringly high, since each bloom has blooms from up to 39 other stone fruit varieties only a few feet away. But, if one wanted to plant the seeds from any of the fruits, this is obviously a cross-pollination nightmare, and there’s no telling what kinds of bizarre hybrids would result.
So, what do you think? Is the “Tree of 40 Fruits” an innovative improvement, or a horrible mistake worthy of Dr. Frankenstein’s lab? Watch the video, and use the comments section below to let us know what you think.
Thanks to Cap’N Dave for sending this our way! You can see Sam Van Aken’s personal webpage here: www.samvanaken.com.