Friday, January 13, 2012

Osage Orange

Osage orange, Maclura pomifera, sometimes called mock orange, is a hardwood tree of the mulberry family, Moraceae. It is a medium sized, often throny tree, growing to 18 m (60 ft) high, its orange, rot resistant wood is used for bows, fence posts, and other outdoor applications. Its round, wrinkled, yellowish fruit somewhat resembles a large orange. Native to the Arkansas and Texas region, the drought resistant osage orange has been planted throughout the United States.

Osage Orange
Osage Orange trees are a common sight on the Great Plans today although they were not a widespread member of the prairie community originally. Found primarily in a limited area centered on the Red River valley in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas, they were planted as living fences or hedges, along the boundaries of farms, and have spread widely from these restricted, linear beginnings. The name of the tree comes from the Osage tribe, which lived near the home range of the tree, and the aroma of the fruit after ripe. Not all this tree will have fruit because Osage Orange are either male or female, and only the females be able have fruit.

The chop one in half and will see on a pithy core surrounded by up to 200 small seeds that are much sought after by squirrels. In addition to ripping apart the tough, stringly fruit. There is a slimy husk around each individual seed that must also be removed before the seed can be eaten. Osage orange trees are a magnet for every squirrel in the neighborhood.

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