Osage Orange Tree

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Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera)

It is also know as hedge apple, bowwood, bodark and horse apple.   It is a member of the Mulberry family and can grow to 40 feet tall.   The tree is covered in thornes and its fruit is not edible.  The fruit is round, hard and about the size of a grapefruit.   Some have described it as looking like “green brains”.

The Cherokee used the hard, dense wood to make bows and a yellow dye was taken from its roots.  Tannins from the bark were used to tan hides.  Some people will develop a rash if they touch the milky, white sap which has been used as a glue. Its fruit has a citrus smell and squirrels love the seeds.osage orange bowsOsage Orange Bows

This tree brings back memories of playing “dodge ball” with my friends using these horse apples.   If you got hit with one of them it would leave a “tattoo” that would last for several days.   Horse apple-dodge ball did teach you agility and hand-eye coordination.

osage orange fruit

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