Osage Orange
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The Osage Orange Tree

Scientific Name: Maclura pomifera

Mature Height
20 - 40 feet
Mature Spread
20 - 40 feet
Soil Type
Widely Adaptable
Moisture
Widely Adaptable
Mature Form
Round Crown, Irregular
Growth Rate
Rapid
Sun Exposure
Full Sun
Flower Color
Yellow, Green
Fall Color
Yellow
Foliage Color
Green
4-9
 
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The Osage Orange tree, Maclura pomifera, has bright green summer leaves with yellow fall color. The Osage Orange bears an inedible fruit resembling a woody orange. It is sometimes called the Hedge Apple tree and Mock Orange and Bodark tree.

Native to the mid western and southeastern United States, this species is also known as the hedge apple because it was planted in thicket-like hedge rows before the advent of barbed wire fences. The fruit is neither an orange nor an apple, although it approaches the size of those fruits. In fact, the bumpy surface of the fruit is due to the numerous, tightly-packed ovaries of the female flowers.

The wood of osage orange was highly prized by the Osage Indians of Arkansas and Missouri for bows. In fact, osage orange trees are stronger than oak (Quercus) and as tough as hickory (Carya), and is considered by archers to be one of the finest native North American woods for bows.

In Arkansas, in the early 19th century, a good osage bow was worth a horse and a blanket. A yellow-orange dye is also extracted from the wood and is used as a substitute for fustic and aniline dyes in arts and industry.

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