Also called hedge apple, horse apple, monkey ball, bois d'arc, bodark, and bodock.  Part of fig/mulberry  family Moraceae in order Rosales.

In the autumn, produces large numbers of tough fruit.  Once widespread in the 🌎︎ Americas, it probably evolved this tough fruit with and to be spread by 🐘︎ mastodon  genus Mammut, 🐘︎ mammoth  genus Mammuthus and giant ground-sloth  genus Megatherium. [1] [2]   After the Holocene extinction removed these large herbivorous megafauna, the fruit usually rotted-in-place, leading to poor seed-dispersal and a steep decline in range to one river valley in parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. [1] [2]

Uses by native peoples
(Ethnobotany database)
  American Indians valued (among other things) the tree's 💪︎ strong, flexible wood to make ♐︎ bows for arrows.

Later, Europeans named the locals Osage Indians, and named the tree after them. [1] [2]

Due to the tree's long thorns and the way the tree spreads, farmers soon planted the tree widely along fencelines.  The tree is now quite common across the 🇺🇸 USA and 🇨🇦 Ontario. [3]

Maclura hosts caterpillars of 8 species
of butterflies and moths, in some areas.

Planting info (SW Michigan) (.pdf).

References

[1]  "The Trees That Miss The Mammoths."  American Forests.  Winter 2010.   Accessed 2016-12-06.

[2]  "Anachronistic Fruits and the Ghosts Who Haunt Them" by Connie Barlow.  Arnoldia.  2001.  (.pdf)   Accessed 2016-12-06.

[3]  Personal communication, a while back by EP's great-aunt and -uncle to EP.  They had several on their property line.

Learn more about 🍊︎ Osage orange Maclura pomifera

Discover Life Encyclopedia of Life Google Google images Michigan Flora Missouri Botanical Garden USDA PLANTS db USFS Wikipedia