Life

The stunning tree that grows 40 different kinds of fruits and flowers

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It might sound like something conjured up in the deepest, most secret vault in Willy Wonka's factory, but one real-life scientist has done it.

A professor at Syracuse University in New York has created a single tree that grows 40 different kinds of fruits in summer and blossoms into a spectacular array of pink, purple and white flowers in spring. 

Sam Van Aken used the method of "chip grafting" - where a branch of leaf buds is inserted into a slit in the branch of a different tree - to create the plant that can grow most fruits seen down a supermarket aisle, including peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, cherries and almonds.

"The idea came from a fascination with the idea of grafting," Van Aken told the National Geographic of his creation named 'Tree of 40 Fruit'. 

"When I'd seen it done as a child it was Dr Suess and Frankenstein and just about everything fantastic."

For him, it's more than science; it's an art project. "I was really interested in the idea of a hoax. Part of the idea for 40 Fruit was to plant them in locations that people would sort of stumble upon."

Having started in 2011, the professor says it'll take in total eight to nine years to complete one fruit tree. While the first one he planted has all 40 fruit varieties, he anticipates it'll be another three to four years before it reaches its peak blossom. 

So far Van Aken has created more than a dozen of the trees that have been planted at museums around the US.

Take a closer look at the mind-blowing creation in the pictures and video below.

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