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Is Osage Orange Edible?

Osage orange (Maclura pomifera), commonly known as Bois d' arc, Hedge Apple, or Horse Apple, is a tree native to the south-central United States belonging to the Moraceae family, which includes figs, mulberries, breadfruit, and jackfruit.


Thorny, quick-growing, medium-sized trees or shrubs that grow to 20m (60 ft) but are more often 10-13m (30-40 ft) tall and nearly as wide, with upwardly curved branches and a short trunk, forming small, rounded, irregular-shaped canopies. A low, rounded, irregular-shaped canopy is created when this shrub is planted in rows alongside a boundary or trained as a hedge. Due to short, stout, sharp thorns that measure about 1.5cm (1/2 in) long, this shrub is an excellent impenetrable barrier for hedgerows.


Osage orange is also employed as a windbreak, as it is quick-growing, wind and temperature tolerant, and can thrive in poor, infertile soils. Osage oranges can adapt to a wide variety of soil conditions, provided that they are poor, wet, or dry, as long as they receive full sun, cool temperatures, and 100-115cm (40-45") precipitation annually.


Osage Orange can be recognized by:


  • Osage orange trees are deciduous, and their leaves turn light green in summer before golden yellow in autumn (fall). Simple leaves with smooth edges and sharp tips are typical of this species' morphology. A milky sap comes forth when a petiole (leaf stem) is broken off.

  • Young twigs have green bark that turns orange-brown and is deeply furrowed on older trunks. The inner bark and roots have bright orange colors.


Osage Orange Fruit


Osage orange trees are either male or female, and the seeds are wind dispersed. After a decade of development, the trees begin to fruit. The fruit has numerous tiny seeds crowded together. The fruit (and seed) of the Osage orange are big, round, tough, warty, pale green or light lime green in color, and measure 8-15 cm (3-6 inches) in diameter. When cut open, the fruit has a pleasant, orange-peel fragrance and is pale green or light lime green in color. The fruit produces white pulp and a milky sap when harvested in summer. When the fruit is crushed, it produces a bitter, milky juice.


Only squirrels and deer eat the Osage orange fruit, and these animals are the only ones that can eat the tiny seeds within. These seeds are the only edible aspect of the fruit.


What are the advantages of using osage orange fruit as a pest repellent? The fruit, which contains 2, 3, 4, and 5-tetrahydroxystilbene, an ant, boxelder bug, cockroach, cricket, flea, and spider repellent chemical, can be used to keep pests away. Place the fruit in an open dish in the area where pests are present to prevent them. The fruit will ooze milky sap as it decays, so be careful with your dish! The fruit will last several weeks if you use it as a pest repellent.


Osage orange wood uses


The Osage Orange tree provides excellent hard yellow-orange wood with a fine to medium texture and a high natural sheen. Its beauty is second to its usefulness.


Because of its outstanding durability, this wood is well known for making railway ties and fence posts. It's also one of North America's most decay-resistant woods, sometimes used for archery bows. Bows and war clubs were traditionally crafted from Osage orange wood by Native Americans. It's also excellent firewood, in addition to being one of the most popular. However, the bark of the roots produces a yellow color. Even if the fruit isn't edible, this tree is quite helpful! It generates more heat per BTU than black locust timber, even though it is a good option.


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