BY: THE PLAID ZEBRA
Sam Van Aken’s “Tree of 40 Fruit” is one of the world’s only living art pieces. By “chip grafting,” Van Aken, a professor at Syracuse University, is able to Frankenstein trees of 40 different stone fruits (containing pits) into one glorious work of edible art.
Chip grafting works by cutting a budding branch off of one tree, cutting an opening in a branch of a separate tree, then inserting the loose branch into the hole and binding the two branches together with tape.
The interesting thing about the tree is that, because each fruit flourishes according to a different timeline, the tree operates as a wave of budding and harvestable fruit. There will be times when half of the tree is alive with colour and hanging fruits while the other side remains barren or still in the preliminary budding phase.
Van Aken has produced more than twelve “Tree of 40 Fruit,” and planted them across America in museums or community gardens. Here’s a stunning look into Van Aken’s work, processes and future plans.