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Franken-Fruit or Urban Garden Solution? The Fruit Salad Tree: A One-Stop Shop for All Your Fruiting
October 8, 2012
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The marriage of different types of fruit to create a new fruit has been around for a while.

Grapefruits were created when a pomelo (a fruit native to parts of Asia) was mated with a Jamaican orange.

Nectarines came about when peaches and plums were left alone with a Marvin Gaye album.

There's the California love child of the blackberry-raspberry hook-up, the loganberry.

(And, of course, the BlackBerry itself was created by combining the Balsillie with the Lazaridis. Although, like most fruits, it might have a limited shelf life.)

And how can you forget your reaction the first time you saw the ultimate American expression of fruit freedom -- the Grapple?

But it seems a couple in Australia have successfully conducted the ultimate fruit crossbreeding experiment, one that might solve urban gardening problems, and it's certainly bearing fruit.

Lots of different kinds -- all on one tree.

James and Kerry West sell trees that can grow up to six different kinds of fruit on one plant. They say these "Fruit Salad Trees" benefit people who have small gardens but still want the variety that comes with have more space.

More than 20 years ago, the Kerrys (Australian wool farmers by day) were looking for some extra income. In this video, Kerry explains how her husband "started putting the different fruits but of the same family and seeing what would happen if you grafted them all onto the one tree. We were amazed at the results."

It's a process called multigrafting, and the Kerrys ship the fruits of their labour all over Australia.

Their trees come in four varieties: pitted fruits, citrus, apples, and nashi fruit (a type of apple-pear mash-up).

fruit-salad-tree-stone.jpg Even stranger are some of the unique hybrid fruits that grow on their trees.

For example, the pitted fruit tree contain the rarely seen peachcot (a cross between an apricot and a peach), alongside more common fruits, such as plums and nectarines, as well as peaches and apricots.

The citrus tree, alongside the oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and pomelos, grow tangelos, which are part-pomelo, part-tangerine.

You can explore the Kerrys' website here. What sets their trees apart are the number of fruit you can get from one stem, but you can also find multi-fruit trees a little closer to home.

Coincidentally, in Cupertino, California, home of Apple Computers, you can buy three-in-one and five-in-one apple trees. (Just try to get a three-for-one deal from your local Apple Store.) They also sell smaller fruit salad trees, none of them with more than three fruits growing at a time.

Check out this Scientific American article for a more, uh, scientific explanation of how it works. Scientifically.

And seriously, have you ever tried those Grapples? Pretty disgusting.

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