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Osage Orange

Scientific Name

Maclura pomifera

Origin

Originally limited to areas if southwestern Arkansas, southeastern Oklahoma and northern Texas.  Seems to have been centered on the Red River Valley area.  

Habitat

Found on a wide range of soils, which gave it the adaptability to spread far outside its original range.  Thrives in areas with prolonged, hot summers such as the Great Plains areas.  

Growth Nature

Osage Orange can grow to a height of 40 ft. with a spread of about 40 ft.  Have a dense crown of interconnected thorny branches. A specimen on the land once owned by Patrick Henry is thought to be 300 years old and has a height of 60 ft. and a spread of over 85 ft.     

Points of Interest

  • The name Osage Orange is a combination of an American Indian Tribe, the Osage which inhabited a section of the Great Plains where the tree was originally found, and the smell and appearance of the large fruit it produces.

  • The wood of the Osage Orange was highly valued by Plains Indians for making their bows. Another name for this tree is “Bodark” which originates from a French term that roughly translates to “wood for a bow”. Some believe the fruit, often called a hedge apple, has the ability to repel insects.  Some studies show it is somewhat effective on cockroaches.

  • Was used extensively for hedgerows before the invention of barbed wire.