As It Happens

This man won a Guinness World Record for his tree that bears 10 types of fruit 

Hussam Saraf says his tree with 10 different types of fruit is a metaphor for how he sees the world.

Australia's Hussam Saraf says the tree is a metaphor for the beauty of a multicultural society

Hussam Saraf points to his Guinness World Record-holding tree, which bears five species and 10 varieties of fruit. (Submitted by Hussam Saraf)

Story Transcript

Hussam Saraf says his record-breaking tree with 10 different types of fruit is a metaphor for how he sees the world.

Saraf is multicultural officer at a secondary school in Shepparton, Australia, and says grafting different fruits together echoes the work he does in his day job.

"I saw all the grafts I put in that tree as just like grafting cultures together to come up with a new Australian culture," Saraf told As It Happens host Carol Off.

"[It's] mother nature that's united us all together. Doesn't really matter how different we are in colour or culture or tradition. We are one, and we can respect each other as one."

Saraf has been awarded the Guinness world record for most types of fruit on a single tree. While his tree bears 10 varieties of fruit in total, his record is for the five distinct species.

At first, he was tied with Luis H. Carrasco of Chile, who held the record for two decades. But when he pointed out that Guinness had incorrectly counted Carrasco's closely-related nectarines and peaches as two separate fruits, reducing his total to four distinct species, the record-keeper awarded the title Saraf.

Saraf sees his multi-fruit tree is a metaphor for different cultures coming together with a foundation of respect. (Submitted by Hussam Saraf)

Saraf's tree features white nectarines, yellow nectarines, white peaches, yellow peaches, apricots, peachcots, almonds, cherries, red plums, and gold plums.

Some of the fruit bloom separately, and others simultaneously. But he says the tree always displays a beautiful array of colours that attracts a diverse mix of pollinators.

"[My] garden's attractive to all the good bees, the good butterflies — all the good stuff, you know?" he said.

Passing down childhood lessons

Saraf says he first learned the basics of fruit tree grafting in school in Iraq when he was just a boy, working with different varieties of figs. 

"And I used to spend [my school holidays] on my grandparents' farms and their neighbours' farms," he said.

"Over there they grow a lot of food and stuff, and they pick veggies and we go wash and we pick with them, and [it's] become kind of a passionate, a hobby."

Saraf sits next to his record-setting tree in his backyard garden, where he's amassed a collection of rare plants and produce from all over the world. (Submitted by Hussam Saraf)

That hobby has truly blossomed in Australia, where he's grown a lush backyard garden full of rare plants and produce from all over the world. He opens the space to the public to browse and photograph, and sells his wares to Australians looking for some variety outside what they can find at the grocery store. 

He's even invited students from his school over to learn some grafting techniques.

"We tried to teach the new generation something they could [do to] help with the climate change and do something better for our future," he said.

His teaching skills will come in handy as he eyes several other Guinness gardening records. He already has applications pending for the most variety of stone fruits on one tree, and tree with the most apple fruits.

But his grandest goal is to beat the record for biggest gardening lesson.

"The previous record is for Kuwait at 286," he said. "I'm seeking for 1,000 people to attend to my lesson."

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Kate Cornick.

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