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Saturday, November 3, 2012

HORSE APPLES BETTER KNOWN AS OSAGE ORANGE

OSAGE ORANGE DISPLAYED ON MY OUTDOOR "ALBERTA" CHAIR

Horse Apples or Hedge Apples are all common names for the Osage Orange tree fruit.  Almost the size of a grapefruit these unusual looking fruit are associated with harvest themes this time of year. I saw a storefront window lined with them a couple days ago and almost walked in to ask if I could buy some. But then I thought why not go out looking along country roads for them. It was a cool sunny day and besides I could take my camera and catch a few photographs.

OSAGE ORANGE TREE

The Osage Orange tree belongs to the mulberry family. It's a deciduous tree, rather small, and makes great hedge rows in farmers fields.Unfortunately hedge rows in farmers field have all but disappeared  Now I find Osage Orange along farm roadsides that have not been tempered with. 


CLOSE-UP OF AN OSAGE ORANGE FRUIT

An old saying is to put an Osage Orange fruit under your bed to repel spiders and other insects. It's a saying that has proven to be scientifically true. Science has found that the Osage Orange repels several insect species as well as the commercial DEET that you find in stores.

Other parts of its attributes is that it has naturalized all over the U.S., its native origins trace back to historic times, has a lovely scent, and its wood is exceptionally hard and was used by the Osage Nation as well as the Comanches for their bows.

COUNTY ROAD WITH OSAGE ORANGE LINING THE RIGHT SIDE EDGE.
 LOOK CLOSELY FOR THE YELLOW SPECKS.

After searching several roadsides, I got lucky and found the above lovely country road that had a long run of Osage Orange  along its side. I  grabbed my bag and picked up some fallen Oranges to display on my outside wooden "Alberta" chair.  

Oh, one thing I forgot to say -- don't eat the fruit -- they are poisonous.




25 comments:

  1. Just bought couple of butternut squash as in your banner. Oh my, what a plethora (love chance to use that word) of information about osage orange. Must return to take it all in, think about where seen in my neighborhood.

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    1. naomi -- Seldom seen in neighborhoods. Folks don't like the "mess" of the fallen fruit. Unless you live in a really old neighborhood will you be likely to find one. Enjoy your butternut squash. -- thanks barbara

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  2. Your post filled in a sizable hole in my information. I've seen the "oranges" and never quite knew what they were or anything about the trees. I'm happy to have learned something new today.

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    1. June - Osage Orange was also a mystery for me at one time. Where did they come from was my main question to myself. Then a visit to Ky about twenty years ago opened up the mystery. I found many roadsides that produced the fruit. Did a bit of research and began to look for them every fall no matter what state I lived in at the time. In some states I couldn't find any but the Midwest and South seemed to have many trees along roadsides that were produced in the fall. I imagine the east also has many. thanks -- barbara

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  3. Fascinating post. I learned something new today. Have never seen the osage orange tree or fruit.

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    1. Nature Weaver -- thanks for the nice comment -- I don't know where you live but if it is east of the Mississippi you are likely to find them along undeveloped roadsides, old farms, or vacant land. I never had much luck finding them in the West. Perhaps they are there -- I just never looked in the right places. -- barbara

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  4. I love these and had some at my home a couple of years ago. We always call them hedge apples here.

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    1. Michelle -- I imagine that you can find many spots along your KY country roads that have the Osage Orange trees. Right now is the time to find them as you probably know. -- thanks -- barbara

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  5. They're all cool. My favorite is the second picture...very nice! I've been looking for a scene type pic with hedge apples. Just haven't seen anything that grabs me...

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    1. turquoisemoon -- Since you live in farm country I imagine you find many of these attractive earthy fruit. I understand what you mean by finding the right patch of the trees to take photographs. The trees aren't everywhere and it takes an aware eye to spot them as one is driving. Don't want to take your eyes off the road too long! thanks -- barbara

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  6. I always wondered what that was. I hadn't seen them before we moved to this area of IL. I saw one at the edge of a farmer's field just like you described. Bummer it is on way too busy of a road to be able to stop and get some. I think I will take a country drive this week and see if I can find some in a place that is safe to stop. Thanks so much for the post.

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    1. Auntea -- I lived in IL for a short time and I would occasionally find the trees. IL was such a large farming area, and maybe still is in the hinterland. Be careful about stopping on busy roads unless you have a good pull off spot. I have put myself in tight spots on roadways and it can be scary -- just to get the right photo. thanks -- barbara

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  7. I've never seen nor heard of Osage orange fruit before. How very interesting. I would love to have a few to hide around the place to keep the insects at bay rather than having to spray every so often.

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    1. Rubeye -- Just in case you can't find any Osage Oranges you might get good results with Boric Acid. When I moved here I knew there would be an insect problem and a friend told me about using it. I sprinkled it under my kitchen and bath sinks and in the five plus years I have been here I have not had any troubles. Knock on wood. I don't know if you are familiar with it but if you have pets you can't let them get into it, that is why I only put it under the sinks as mine cannot open the doors:) I find it better than the toxic sprays. -- thanks -- barbara

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  9. Very unusual looking! I have never seen one so thanks for sharing! :-)

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    1. Birdie -- They have an unusual look that if you were to see one along the roadside would surely make you wonder what they are. Actually I find their color, size and skin patterns beautiful. A bowl full on a table adds to a fall feeling. -- barbara

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  10. There's a whole different take on 'road or horse apples' around. You don't want to step on them, if you know what I mean. hahahaha

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    1. Birdman -- Yes I do know what you mean:) The name horse apples came about as horses and other livestock occasionally eat them. It has been suggested that they were a food source for animals (now extinct)during our Pleistocene era. Not many animals eat them today. thanks -- barbara

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  11. We have am Osage Orange that is huge -- at least fifteen feet high and wider than that. I picked up a fallen fruit at the Biltmore House, put it in a pot of dirt, and waited... It took two or three years to outgrow the pot but when I put it in the ground, it took off.

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    1. Vicki -- Wow! To think that you started it by putting the fallen fruit in a pot of dirt. Perhaps I should consider trying to grown an Osage Orange here on my place -- thanks -- barbara

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  12. They look so wonderful that it is a pity they are poisonous.

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    1. Hattie -- They are symbols of fall around here. Their poison is not a problem -- according to the edxperts you would just get nauseated and other uncomfortable stuff for awhile. I don't think there have been any deaths from the Osage Orange? -- thanks -- barbara

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  13. I've seen those before, very unusual. Around here, we mostly see black walnuts alongside our roads.

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    1. Janet -- You might have them but not in abundance. Black Walnut are not in abundance around here but there are spots that I know of that have some nice productive black walnuts. thanks for the comment -- barbara

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