Osage Orange - Maclura Pomifera
- Seeds available for swap on myFolia -
Seeds of this North American Native member of the Moraceae family are thought to have once been distributed by now-extinct pleistocene megafauna, such as the giant ground sloth, mammoth, mastodon and gomphothere (much like the Paw Paw, Kentucky Coffeetree, and the American Persimmon). As these species—and native equine species—went extinct at the end of the last ice age, the range of the Osage Orange became severely circumscribed. Now, the seeds are dispersed by humans (anthropochory) and squirrels (zoochory).
The tree itself is thorny, and often planted as windbreak and wildlife/livestock barriers for fields, hence the moniker “Hedge Apple.” It yields a beautiful, dense, rot-resistant wood that is used for a variety of applications, including bowmaking. Many North American indigenous peoples prized this tree for this and other purposes: the name “Osage Orange” refers to the Osage (Ni-u-kon-ska) Nation.
The fruit is considered inedible because of it’s sticky white latex-containing juice, as well as it’s dense and mealy texture. It is purported to repel insects, but accumulated scientific evidence in recent years asserts that insect-repellant properties only occur in concentrates derived from the plant. Nonetheless, the tree is largely free of pest and fungal problems.
To swap, join myFolia for free, and I will send you a swap code. Check out my wishlist to find out what I am looking for, and browse my growing germplasm (seeds, bulbs, and cuttings) inventory.
Photos: Bruce Marlin, H. Zell, Hobbit House, Dallas/Forth Worth Urban Wildlife