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Meet A Tree - Blog

Meet A Tree - Blog

Meet The "Osage Orange" - Maclura pomifera

Posted on 6 July, 2015 at 10:30

With it's unusual large yellow-green strangely textured fruits, the Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) tree is sure to grab attention. It is called by various alternate names such as Hedge Apple, Horse Apple, Bodock, Bois d'arc, and Monkey Ball. It is considered a medium sized deciduous tree and is native to the United States. It is believed to have originally been found in the Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas region. It has been naturalized in all 48 continuous states and southern portions of Canada.

Image Citations:(Leaves and Fruit) Paul Wray, Iowa State University, 



The fruit resembles the texture of a brain and can grow anywhere from 3-6 inches in diameter. The inside of the fruit contains a sticky latex substance. The fruit is not eaten by humans because of it's unusual taste and extremely hard texture. Research has not found the fruit to be harmful to humans. just nearly impossible to eat. Many animals and livestock have been found to snack on this unusual fruit, however it is not a primary food source for any one type of mammal.

The Osage Orange tree can grow 40-60 feet tall at full maturity. Despite it's name the Osage Orange is not closely related to the common Orange tree. The Osage Orange is part of the Mulberry or Moraceae family - while the common Orange comes from the Rutaceae family. The leaves are arranged alternately and are green in color during the Spring/Summer growth season. In the fall the leaves become an almost clear bright Yellow in color.

Image Citation:(Close Up Foliage) John D. Byrd, Mississippi State University,

The wood of the Osage Orange is heavy, close grained and dense. It was commonly used by Native American's in Bow making. Today the wood is used to create sturdy hand tools. The wood strengthens over time and withstands rot well.

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Categories: Meet A Tree

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