Perhaps you have heard of a plant that grows tomatoes and potatoes? The pomato or TomTato (the war rages on) is a combination of tomato and potato plants created by grafting them together. The result is a plant that grows both. If you’d like to see it I’ve included that video below. However the focus of this article is the Tree of 40. This is a grafted plant like no other. Developed by Professor Sam Van Ayken the original plan was to create a multicolored blossom tree as part of an art project but his project soon veered onto an entirely different path. The trees he has created are capable of growing 40 different stone fruits (fruits with a hard seed inside). The technique is essentially something that seems counter-productive. He cuts small branches with buds from different fruiting trees and then affixes them onto branches on a juvenile tree which has a branch of their own cut off. Each has an end cut at an angle so that they can be attached easily with a strip of plastic that presses them together. When the tree heals itself these two branches will fuse together, giving the tree a new branch with foreign fruit. By doing this continually over close to a decade he has created trees capable of bearing 40 varieties of fruit (including plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries and almonds). Don’t get too excited, you can’t grow these. Since what he’s doing is modifying the non-sex cells these can’t be passed onto future generations. Prof. Ayken himself has stated that he is grafting these trees as an art project for people to discover and hopes to spread them all over the world. The good news is that both of these plants COULD be used for growing multiple fruits or vegetables in climates where food is scarce.
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