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.   🗺 Map by county (🇺🇸 USA-48) (color key), 🗺 map (North America, Central America),  Adobe Acrobat Reader file 🗺 today + with climate change (eastern 🇺🇸 USA).  

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]

Much later, Europeans named the locals Osage Indians (later called the Osage Nation), and named the tree after them. [1] [2]

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]

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

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

Planting info (SW Michigan).  Adobe Acrobat Reader file


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

[2]  "Anachronistic Fruits and the Ghosts Who Haunt Them" by Connie Barlow.  Arnoldia.  .   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