Wait — how can these peaches and cherries grow on the same tree? Well, a guy named Sam Van Aken creates trees that grow lots of kinds of fruit. He “grafts” trees together, meaning he cuts off one tree’s branch and ties it to a cut in another tree’s trunk. If it works, they grow into one happy tree. Peaches and cherries work because they’re cousins — they’re both stone fruits (they have a pit inside). Sam’s trees can bear up to 40 kinds of fruit, and flowers to match! It’s like someone giving you a rabbit’s ears or an anteater’s nose… except a lot better-looking.

*Wee ones:* If Sam’s tree has flowers in white, pink, purple, orange and magenta, how many colors is that?

*Little kids:* If you pick fruit to bake a cherry pie, then a peach pie, then a cherry pie, then a peach pie…what should you bake next to keep the pattern? *Bonus:* How would you count up the tree’s 40 fruits by 10s?

*Big kids:* What if a tree could grow snacks? If your tree grows potato chips, pretzel sticks, and Cheetos, and you pick 1 snack type each day cycling in that order, how many days until you’ve picked 25 of each snack? *Bonus:* If it grows 40 snacks and you pick a new snack each day, then after the 40 you start over in the same order, how many *full* times will you cycle through all snack types in 1 year? (*Reminder:* A year has 365 days; a leap year has 366.)

Answers:

*Wee ones:* 5 colors.

*Little kids:* A cherry pie. *Bonus:* 10, 20, 30, 40.

*Big kids:* 75 days. *Bonus:* 9 full cycles, since that brings you to 360 and you can’t then fit another cycle.