The tree is grafted with more than forty kinds of fruits. Therefore known as the tree of 40 fruits or the Frankenstein tree.
When Sam Van Aken first saw the process of grafting different tree twigs to thrive on other trees, he was mesmerized, and he compared it to Frankenstein. The leisure time activity quickly evolved into a full-fledged life endeavour. As an art professor at the University of Syracuse, Van Aken thought of creating artwork through his hobby.
As a result, he created a tree of 40 fruits which produces nearly 40 various types of drupes or stone fruits. Apricots, peaches, cherries, plums, and even nectarines fall under this category.
The “Frankenstein tree” initiative is regarded as an artwork and has been replicated 16 times in seven states across the United States.
Van Aken utilizes grafting methods, which entails taking plant stem together with its appendages, leaves and lateral buds, flowering stems, and flower buds from a fruit tree and inserting them into the lateral branches of an underground part, from which new above-ground growth can be produced until they become a part of it. A locally growing plant is used for this, as they suit the weather and the soil.
It will enable fruits to be produced even in regions where they can’t grow independently.
In the 2014 TEDxManhattan lecture, Van Aken remarked, “I regard the ‘tree of 40 fruits’ as a piece of artwork, a research effort, and conservation.”
“Each site is distinct,” says the artist. These trees are planted in art institutions, private properties, and universities.
Recently, another tree was planted in the San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum. According to the museum staff, the tree will serve as the central focus of the new garden extension. Autumn Young, the museum’s marketing director, says that the ‘tree of 40 fruits’ will be included in the museum’s ecological education system.
“It’s a fantastic chance for kids to connect with arts that provide fruits,” Autumn Young says. “It’s a way to teach children what art is.”
The 40-fruit tree requires extra care to grow healthy and develop for a few years for the grafts to produce fruits.
Pruning and strategically placing the grafts so that they yield fruit are the most important aspects of this operation.
Each tree is meticulously designed and planned by Van Aken. He selects each variety to blossom and grow fruit all year round to improve effectiveness.
The art instructor wishes to bring the ‘ 40 Fruit tree’ to the entire world to promote fruit variety and share his artwork worldwide.