It’s Arbor Day in many places, and so it’s a great day to celebrate one of the most amazing examples of what trees can do: it’s called the Tree of 40 Fruit.

That’s right, a single tree that puts out 40 different kinds of fruit!

This didn’t happen on its own in nature, by the way; the idea came from Sam Van Aken, a professor and artist at Syracuse University in New York.

Van Aken grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, where he said he was fascinated by the process of grafting.

That’s when you take a cutting from one tree and introduce it to another tree.

If done right, the tree will make a permanent connection with the cutting and it can grow flowers and fruits.

In fact, this is the most common way to grow new fruit trees; they make much better fruit than trees grown from seed.

You can graft a cutting from one variety of apple tree onto a tree that grows a different variety, and in a lot of cases, you can graft cuttings from different kinds of fruit trees onto each other.

Van Aken decided to take that idea and run really far with it, with a goal of putting 40 different fruits on a single tree.

He says it’s a slow process.

The tree has to grow for about three years before he can start grafting, and he can’t put all 40 on at once, so it takes close to a decade before the tree is at its peak.

And many of the fruits on the tree are heirloom varieties, historic types of fruit that aren’t usually grown by commercial fruit farms and deserve another look.

The Tree of 40 Fruit is mostly fruits with pits, like peaches, apricots, cherries and plums, though Van Aken has also grafted some almonds on.

Also: remember how Van Aken teaches art at Syracuse?

He worked out a plan so that not only are there fruits coming up at different points in the growing season, there’s also a variety of flowers – different hues and different blooms coming up at different times.

The idea has spread since the first tree, so technically there’s not just one Tree of 40 Fruit anymore.

It’s more like Over A Dozen Trees Each With Dozens Of Varieties, which is technically more accurate but maybe not quite as catchy.

Starting tomorrow in Hawaii, it’s the Waikiki SPAM Jam.

The so-called mystery meat has been a big deal in the 50th state for decades.

Participating restaurants celebrate the canned classic by serving up original SPAM-based recipes.

That means you don’t have to just have SPAM, eggs, sausage and SPAM.

Sculptor Sam Van Aken’s Tree of 40 Fruit (Syracuse University)

Waikiki Spam Jam

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Photo by Sam Van Aken courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Art, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikicommons