"The idea is that I could collapse a whole orchard and put it into one tree," he told Business Insider.
Each of the colors in the photo above represents a variety of flowering tree. Collectively, as one plant, they produce 40 different edible stone fruits (ones with pits, like peaches and plums). The tree above is just an artist's rendering, but the trees do exist.
To create his unique tree, Van Aken, a sculptor at SU's College of Visual and Performing Arts, uses a process called "grafting," which is used frequently by orchards and gardeners.
When two plants are grafted together they are cut so their "veins" flow into each other, letting them share a vascular system. These veins, known as the phloem and zylem, transport water, sugar, and minerals between the plant's roots and leaves.