Sam Van Aken is an award-winning contemporary artist, professor of sculpture at Syracuse University and creator of the “Tree of 40 Fruit Project,” which has been described as “part Dr. Seuss, part Frankenstein, and just about everything fantastic.”
His practice of grafting buds from a variety of antique, heirloom and native fruit trees onto the branches of a single tree, has resulted in unique hybrids that bear different kinds of stone fruit, from peaches and plums, to cherries and almonds.
Each unique Tree of 40 Fruit grows over forty different types of stone fruit including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds. Sculpted through the process of grafting, the Tree of 40 Fruit blossom in variegated tones of pink, crimson and white in spring, and in summer bear a multitude of fruit. Primarily composed of native and antique varieties the Tree of 40 Fruit are a form of conservation, preserving heirloom stone fruit varieties that are not commercially produced or available.