Osage Orange Tree Bark: Osage Orange Tree Bark: Osage Orange Tree Bark: Osage Orange Tree Bark: Osage Orange Tree Bark A well-crafted Osage-orange bow was worth "a horse and a blanket" in the 1800s. Osage Orange Bark - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Osage Orange Leaf - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Osage Orange Twig - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Osage Orange Flowers - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, ISU Extension and Outreach French trappers named it bois d’arc, which was anglicized into the common name of bodark. After the disastrous Dust Bowl in the 1930s, Osage-orange enjoyed a bit of a comeback, as green shelterbelts diminished soil erosion caused by ferocious prairie winds. All cutting or girdling practices, without herbicide treatment, will result initially in the development of masses of vigorous sprouts which are extremely difficult and hazardous to … Today, few animals eat these huge, sticky oddities. As big as a grapefruit, the fruit evolved with large herbivores in the Ice Age. Female trees are generally not recommended for landscape use because the fruits pose a considerable litter problem. Osage Orange Fruit - Photo by Paul Wray, Iowa State University, Site Requirements: Full sun; adaptable to most soil conditions, Leaves: Alternate, simple, with thorns or spines present, Seed Dispersal Dates: September - October, Seed Stratification: Prechill for one month at 34°F to 40°F. Fencerows of Osage-orange trees can still be found on farms in Illinois. Freshly cut Osage-orange wood is a vibrant yellow. The bark of the roots is also a bright orange color and furnishes a yellow dye. Squirrels eat seeds from the fruit in winter. It is easy to collect the seeds from the fruit, too, which drops from the trees each fall. The inner bark is bright orange. French explorers in the 18th century called the tree "bois d'arc," or wood of the bow. They adapt well to most soil. The Extraordinary Osage Orange Tree Osage (Maclura pomifera) is the sole surviving member of the genus Maclura — of its many relatives from past geologic eras, only fossils remain. Ames, IA 50011, Iowa State University | PoliciesState & National Extension Partners. It develops irregular fissures and breaks into broad, scaly ridges. Courtesy of Valerie Blaine. The leaves are 3 to 5 inches long and do not have teeth along the margin. On older trunks it is orange-brown and deeply furrowed. The strange-looking fruits of the Osage-orange tree litter the ground at this time of year. Osage orange leaves are dark green and glossy on top, 3 to 5 inches long with smooth margins and alternate arrangement. Osage orange suckers freely and quickly forms an impenetrable barrier due to its vicious thorns which are particularly nasty on new shoots. Bandstra cites the wood's durability and hardness as the important qualities for toolmaking. They grow in hardiness zones 4 – 9. Windbreaks. The letter-opener has aged to a rich, dark color, whereas the fresh-cut wood block of Osage-orange wood is much lighter in color. Osage-orange was used for thousands of miles of natural fencing, crisscrossing the frontier. Large Osage orange trees are resistant to fire and will need another control method such as girdling or cutting. Osage-orange, for all its worth, is a tree of the ages. The inner bark is bright orange. Although not native to Ohio, through plantings the Osage-Orange has become resident to most counties. Ice Age creatures have come and gone, but the Osage-orange tree remains. Arnie Bandstra crafted this duck-handled letter opener, using Osage-orange. The color mellows into a rich brown with age. This tree often has been used in growing hedges and fencerows. As big as a grapefruit, the fruit evolved with large herbivores in the Ice Age. On older trunks it is orange-brown and deeply furrowed. It flourished in the time when mastodons, sloths, and saber-toothed cats roamed the land. The leaves are three to five inches long and about three-inches wide. The Osage-orange tree is a relic of the past. Osage orange, (Maclura pomifera), also called bowwood, French bois d’arc, thorny tree or shrub native to the south-central United States, the only species of its genus in the family Moraceae.The Osage orange is often trained as a hedge; when planted in rows along a boundary, it forms an effective spiny barrier. Today, few animals eat these huge, sticky oddities. The Osage orange is an easy-to-grow tree. The tree also serves as a windbreak. The fruit is round, wrinkled, pale green in color and 4 to 5 inches in diameter. Woodworkers use it for musical instruments, bowls, knife handles and other specialty items. Its volatile oils make it a strong, natural insecticide , and many of its compounds have also been shown to protect the body against many types of harmful organisms. The strong, durable wood has been used for fence posts, small sturdy objects, and rustic furniture. I was leading an outdoor school program, and it took me a moment to realize the students were referring to the big, lumpy fruit fallen from the trees lining the road. The bark, fruits, and leaves all contain phytonutrients that are responsible for the tree’s proposed health benefits. It flourished in the time when mastodons, sloths, and saber-toothed cats roamed the land. When crushed, the pulpy fruit gives a bitter, milky juice. Frontier fencing was critical in the 19th century. The strange-looking fruits of the Osage-orange tree litter the ground at this time of year. Although not native to Ohio, through plantings the Osage-Orange has become resident to most counties. This tree often has been used in growing hedges and fencerows. The Garden wouldn't be the Garden without our Members, Donors and Volunteers. Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It consists of numerous small seeds crowded and grown together to form the characteristic "orange."
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