Osage orange, or as it’s commonly referred to in these parts as Hedge Apple, is a fascinating, non-edible native species related to mulberry and fig. Many people around here believe the large fruits repel insects like spiders and so they religiously collect and place these fruits in their basements every year. The trees are beautiful, somewhat squat when young and similar in look to mulberries. The wood (or trees themselves) are extremely useful for hedges, fence posts due to their extremely durable and rot-resistant wood. In Texas they are called “Bodarc” trees, a corruption of the French “Boe d’ arc,” meaning “arc of the bow,” because Osage Orange was known to be one of, if not the best tree for making hunting bows due to the extremely strong yet flexible wood.
The large, slightly fragrant, odd lumpy fruits resemble the tropical breadfruit, and also oranges. Trees grow rapidly and with zero diseases or insects. They were utilized in the 1930’s for shelter belts after the dust bowl disaster. A good tree for reforestation purposes. Makes one of, if not the best, firewood in the USA. An interesting tree to plant. We have them wild growing here on our farm in Kentucky. Old species can get pretty massive and are very beautiful, with gnarly orange bark. An enormous historical specimen still lives not far from here in Harrodsburg, KY.
RECOMMENDED FOR ORGANIC GROWING
USES: Hedges, fence posts, firewood, ornamental, reforestation
Site Selection: Sunny, well-drained site. Likes deep, rocky soil. Can grow well on alkaline and limestone sites.
Plant Size: 1-2′ tall bare-root seedlings. Unsexed. Plants 2-3 specimens for fruit production, as some will be male pollinators and not bear fruit.
– May 28, 2019
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