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Plant Informational Database

Osage Orange

Maclura pomifera

a.k.a. Mock Orange, Hedge Apple, Bodock, Monkey Brain

A large, inedible and easy identifiable fruit that looks a bit like a bumpy, warty grapefruit.

Seed Availability

Seeds are not available for the Osage Orange. Please visit our seed store to view current selections.

Description

A tough, hardy tree, growing to 20-40ft. Trees are deciduous and dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate trees. The round fruits can grow up to 4-6", with a bumpy skin and tough, inedible pulp that contains some latex. The fruits do have a pleasant aromatic smell of oranges. A single "fruit" is actually a collection of dozens of tiny fruits, a common trait to the mulberry family. One oddity is that the fruits don't seem to have any natural dispersal agents as few animals show interest in eating them. This has led some to hypothesize the Osage Orange was once part of the diet of extinct Pleistocene mammals such as the giant ground sloth and mammoth.

Hardiness

Very hardy, to well below 0F.

Growing Environment

The tree is very tough and hardy, once established it needs little attention. Water moderately if growing in drought-prone regions.

Propagation

By seeds.

Uses

The tree is sometimes planted as an ornamental for its odd fruits. The most popular use for the tree is as a windbreak. Through the 1800's and 1900's, tens of thousands of Osage Oranges were planted throughout the United States for this purpose. Oil extracted from the fruit is being investigated as an insect repellant.

Native Range

Native to parts of Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana. Once uncommon in the wild, the tree has naturalized throughout much of the United States and Canada.

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