Osage Orange …an amazing tree

Today a visit to the brilliant Cambridge Botanic gardens .

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed weird fruits scattered on the ground in large numbers.They were very odd with odd bumpy surfaces.

Here are some on the tree , an Osage Orange tree.

Here is one of the strange fruits .

This tree has some amazing historical tales to tell.

Osage Orange was used in the last century as hedging in America and was often they called the prairie hedge, hedge apple, horse apple, bowwood or yellow-wood.

Osage (Maclura pomifera) is the only surviving member of the genus Maclura — of its many relatives from past geologic eras, it is part of the same family of trees that include figs and mulberries.

This fruit is inedible and when broken open can exude a substance that is an irritant to some people . This does not make it a tree with no uses.

The Osage Indians used the wood of the Osage Orange tree as the wood for their bows because of its hard nature.

The strength of this wood made it useful for wheels of wagons and for many other uses .It had an ability to avoid rotting and so became harvested on a huge scale for fence posts and uses on the railways. Huge areas were cleared for these uses. It did not become rare because it could be grown as hedges,they are easy to propagate and grow quickly.

Because of this, thousands of miles of Osage hedges were planted in the Midwest, East and South, far beyond the original range of the species.

An interesting find , might try to grow a seed .


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