Also called hedge apple, horse apple, monkey ball, bois d'arc, bodark, and bodock.

Part of fig/mulberry  family Moraceae in 🍎︎ apple / 🍇︎ berry / buckthorn / elm / hemp / 🌹︎ rose  order Rosales.

Native to 🇺🇸 USA:  eastern Texas, extending a bit into Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

In 🍂︎ 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]

▭ 🌎︎ Map (North America, Central America),  Adobe Acrobat Reader file ▭ 🌎︎ today + with climate change (eastern 🇺🇸 USA).  

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

Due to the tree's long thorns and the way the tree spreads, European 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).  Adobe Acrobat Reader file

References

[1]  "The Trees That Miss The Mammoths."  American Forests.  .   Accessed .

[2]  "Anachronistic Fruits and the Ghosts Who Haunt Them" by Connie Barlow.  Arnoldia.  Adobe Acrobat Reader file   Accessed .

[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

🔍︎ 🔍︎ images Discover Life Encyclopedia of Life Michigan Flora Missouri Botanical Garden Flora of North America NRCS PLANTS db Silvics USFS Wikipedia