I was exploring an ancient garden. It seems the original inhabitants had long since left. One of the trees particularly struck me. Besides the delicious-looking red fruit the branches were twisted into a strange configuration as though the tree were trying to tell me something.

I made a detailed sketch and took it home to discuss with my friend.

Image of the tree

"So, that's exactly how the tree was growing?"

"Yes, a separate branch reaching off to the right, and everything all kind of jumbled up in the middle. I'm not sure how to make much sense of anything!"

"It's interesting, don't you think, that the upper branches look almost the same as the lower ones, but a bit smaller?"

"Now you mention it, I suppose they do, and almost everything within each cluster seems to be leaning either to the left or the right."

"How was the fruit - did you try some?"

"Well, I thought I'd better find out more about the tree first - never know what I might end up eating otherwise! Actually I brought back several of the fruits, maybe only some of them are safe?"

"A tree grows its structure from the bottom, but the energy flows from the tips of the uppermost leaves downwards, so it makes sense that there could be some difference between the upper and lower fruits."

I think we can just about tell which branch each leaf is attached to despite it all looking a bit jumbled...

What can we find out about the tree? Are any of the fruits good to eat? Is the tree telling us anything about what happened to the original inhabitants of the garden?

Hint (after Lukas Rotter has already solved the main part of the puzzle):

served a dual purpose - first as a major hint to the "theme", and secondly to suggest that the answer to the specific questions posed is within "general knowledge" and/or searchable on the internet, rather than this puzzle.

Credit [giving away major part of answer] to:

Florian F for the puzzle The maze one should not enter - this puzzle was a result of my thinking about different framings of a similarly simple code to make the fact that a 5 bit code was involved more discoverable, without being too "in your face".


1 Answer 1


After taking some substances I noticed the vivid* colors** and patterns hidden within this gift of nature:

enter image description here

Each "unit" is composed of one horizontal branch (branching off from its parent) with a fruit on the other end of it. For each end of this horizontal branch, there is a vertical branch with a leaf. The ends of these vertical lines are the entry points for the next potential layer of units.

* Pink/Purple and Blue/DarkBlue are to be treated as the same, merely here for better distinction within jumbled clusters
** Distinction does not work 100% for red-green color blindness, but I think it's good enough to see the gist of it.

How much raw information is within each unit?

- Direction of horizontal branch (left/right)
- 2x direction of vertical branch (leaning left/right)
- 2x direction of leaf (leaning left/right)

So 5 bits of information, or 32 possible distinct units. Seems very convenient for a straight unit->letter conversion. The fruit does not appear to transfer direct information to me, perhaps its meant as a placeholder for the letter we may get out of each unit?

With this, we can do the following for each unit

Create a 5-bit number with the following criteria and then convert to a character via A1Z26:
Left = 0, Right = 1
0th bit (right-most) = Horizontal Branch
1st bit = Right Branch
2nd bit = Left Branch
3rd bit = Right Leaf
4th bit = Left Leaf

Example (root unit): llrlr = 00101 = 5 = e

Why in this order? Seems to be the most natural to me, and the most common repeating unit (llrlr) would equal e, the most common letter in the english alphabet. So that's a slight hint this is the correct order. It also only produces values in A1Z26 range with the presented units.

If we do this for all units, the abstracted tree now looks like this

T   R   E   E   O   F   K   N
\ / \ / \ / \ /
\_ _/ \_ _/
\ / \ /
\_____ _____/
\ /

So the main message this tree holds is:


Regarding the specific questions posed within this puzzle:

A tree of knowledge in an ancient garden growing fruits is a reference to the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden.

Are any of the fruits good to eat? Well, unless you want to commit the original sin, be kicked out of the garden, and face serious consequences, you probably shouldn't.

What about the original inhabitants of the garden? A gentleman named Adam and a lady with the name Eve. TLDR; Both were kicked out.

  • $\begingroup$ Well done - glad the main part was at about the intended difficulty level. There's no more (intended) information available to extract from the image. $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Jun 8, 2021 at 21:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Steve. Thanks! And oh, I assume the other questions refer to the rot13(Tneqra bs rqra), then? . If that is so I can edit and clean up the answer tomorrow :) $\endgroup$ Jun 8, 2021 at 21:19
  • $\begingroup$ Your assumption would be correct. $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Jun 8, 2021 at 21:22
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Apologies for the minor confusion - I realised the moment I'd posted the question that rot13("Ner nal bs gur sehvgf tbbq gb rng?" pbhyq cbgragvnyyl cebibxr zhpu eryvtvbhf qvfphffvba tvira gubfr fcrpvsvp ehyrf ab ybatre nccyl gb hf, fb vg'f n ovg bcra raqrq sbe gur "nafjre" gb n chmmyr.) The red fruits were in part rot13(n erq ureevat - ohg hfrq va beqre gb pyhr va gur pbaprcg bs gur fgehpgher bs gur gerr orvat ebbgrq ng gur obggbz, ohg gur "raretl" bs gur zrffntr jbexvat sebz gur gbc, naq jvguva rnpu havg "fgnegvat" ng gur yrnirf [yrsgzbfg ovgf] naq jbexvat qbja gb gur ybjre oenapu) $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Jun 9, 2021 at 7:46

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