Tree of 40 Fruit TED Talk

Applied ICDVan Aken, S. (2019, June). How one tree grows 40 different kinds of fruit [Video file]. Retrieved from

Sam Van Aken TED talk


A few months ago, CID put up a post suggesting that Sam Van Aken’s Tree of 40 Fruit provides a good metaphor for intercultural dialogue. So it seems appropriate to now point out that he gave a TED Talk this summer updating his project, for those who wish to learn more about how it has been going. And to show off his astonishing trees after a few years. of growth As he says, “This is definitely not a sport of immediate gratification.” Again, this sure sounds like a metaphor for intercultural dialogue!

Visual Metaphor for Intercultural Dialogue: Tree of 40 Fruit

Applied ICDSam Van Aken, sculptor and art professor at Syracuse University, invented the Tree of 40 fruit, already described as “a symbol of acceptance and dialogue across differences” – and it seems well suited to that role.

The Tree of 40 Fruit is a single grafted tree with the capacity to grow over 40 different varieties of stone fruit, including peach, plum, apricot, nectarine, cherry, and almond. Appearing as a normal fruit tree through the majority of the year, in spring it blossoms in variegated tones of pink, white, and crimson, and in summer multiple fruits ripen. Primarily composed of antique and native stone fruit varieties, the Tree of 40 Fruit is a form of conservation, preserving rare, unknown, or now forgotten cultivars that are not commercially available.

Published articles:
Syracuse University Magazine
National Geographic
Zoomer Media