Osage Orange

Osage Orange_0733

While hiking in Cool Creek Park in Carmel, Indiana, I saw several green “monkey brains” scattered on the forest floor.

Osage Orange_0751

They came from an Osage Orange, which is a small deciduous tree or large shrub, that grows 30–50 feet tall. Their distinctive fruit is roughly spherical, bumpy, 3–6 inches in diameter and turns a bright yellow-green in the Fall.

Osage Orange_0756

The fruit secretes a sticky white latex when cut or damaged. Despite the name “orange,” it is instead a member of the mulberry family.

Osage Orange_0762

The trunk bark is brown to orange-brown and deeply furrowed with ridges. The glossy, lance-shaped leaves are arranged alternately and vary from dark to pale tender green. They have long, tapering tips and smooth to slightly wavy margins.

Osage Orange_0754

“Back in the day” these sharp-thorned shrubs were planted as cattle-deterring hedges before the introduction of barbed wire and afterward became an important source of fence posts.

Osage Orange

This intriguing plant is also known as Hedge Apple, Horse Apple, Bodark, Bow-wood, Yellow-wood and Mock Orange.

Third Eye Herp

Comments are closed.