A few years ago, Prof. Sam Van Aken
was touring New York’s largest plantation and wondered, as he looked at
the immense property that was necessary for the plantation, if it were
possible to grow several kinds of fruits on one tree. This thought led
him to a unique project that took him five years to complete, and its
fruits (pun intended) are reaped today: The development of a tree that
can bear 40 different kinds of fruits.
Aken’s process included growing the trees that he wished
combine (aka “transplant”), chopping off some of the branches and
transplanting them in a unique way onto the main tree. His successes
along the way led to trees that co-bore a variety of fruits: cherries,
nectarines, almonds, peaches, plums, etc.
Since each different plant requires
different levels of irrigation and care, Aken keeps a journal that
tracks the status of each plant, how much water it needs
Aken’s first transplanted tree is over nine years old, and his succes
s led him to create sixteen more such trees.
Most of these trees are planted in museums, cultural and commu
centers in the United States. Aken’s next step in the plan involves
starting a plantation of such trees, as an homage to the plantation that