This Crazy Tree Grows 40 Kinds of Fruit | National Geographic

the tree or 40 fruit is a single fruit

tree that grows over 40 different types

of stone fruit including peaches plums

apricots nectarines cherries and almonds

the idea came from just sort of a

fascination with the process of grafting


when I had seen it done as a child it

was dr. Seuss and Frankenstein and just

about everything fantastic I started

traveling around Central New York in New

York State to look for different

varieties of stone fruit eventually I

was able to find these different

heirloom and antique varieties but they

are very rare so it would bring them

back here to my nursery graph them onto

a tree so that I could continue to use

them now I have a huge collection of

plums and apricots


through the project I've I've worked

with a lot of growers and at first they

didn't understand it because they were

why would you want to have a tree with

that many different fruit on it you

would have to go back over and over to

continue to harvest all the fruit the

project is for me always an art project

I was really interested in the idea of a

hoax in terms of you know hoax

transforms reality part of the idea for

the tree of 40 fruit was to plant them

in locations that people would sort of

stumble upon once they happen upon one

of these trees they would start to

question why are the leaves shaped

differently why are they different

colors and then in summer when you would

see all of these different fruit growing

on them and of course in spring when

they blossom in different colors it is

an artwork when I first started I just

sort of crafted the branches on so each

variety blossoms at a slightly different

time and I had a tree that blossomed all

on one side but looked dead on the other

from that point I created a timeline of

when all of these different varieties

blossom in relationship to each other so

I could essentially sculpt how the tree

would blossom

for each of the trees I keep a map

essentially or a diagram of the tree

yeah it takes a really long time I start

a tree and I let it grow for about three

years and at that point I can come in

and start to graft on to those branches

those four branches become eight the

next year eight becomes 16 16 becomes 32

it's essentially like an eight to nine

year process essentially what you're

doing with this clear plastic is you're

creating a greenhouse around the graft

and so what it'll do is all that

humidity helps the graft heal in the

first tree it's planted in 2011 and it

has the 40 varieties but I anticipate it

will be about 3 or 4 years before it's

at that peak and then peat blossom


unlike any other artworks that I've made

these things continuously evolved I

think one of the reasons why I've been

able to keep it going for so long is

that every year it's something new and

when you come out here and the trees are

all in blossom it's really kind of an

amazing experience

plus you get fruit all summer