Fruit of the Osage Orange Tree, the HedgeApple.
Hedgeapple Season Has Ended.
Folklore provides numerous claims that hedgeapples are repellent to insects and spiders. The fruit of the osage orange has been placed in households for ages.
The Hedgeapple's average lifespan in an air-condition environment is 2-3 months. Although some can develop spots at an early stage, Hedgeapples should only be discarded once most of the green has disappeared.
I used hedge apples every year when I lived in Kansas; just drive down a country road and pick them. Can't find them here is Phoenix, Arizona. Crickets here are a nightmare; no amount of insecticide can contain them. Two hedge apples in each room = zero crickets; took one day to work.
My mother used hedge apples (we called them Monkey Brains) when I was a kid. They work and we still use them. Just wish we knew how/where to get them year round.
My Cherokee Indian Grandmother first told me of hedgeapples as an insect repellent about 50 yrs ago. People have laughed at me, then tried them, and now ask me where to find them. Seeing is believing! They dry hard so I've never had a problem yet. I pitch them when totally brown and dry, usually in January find them. Seeing is believing!!
- Hedgeapples are not poisonous. However, Hedgeapples have suffocated livestock by lodging in their esophagus.
- Very often, a Hedgeapple is incorrectly referred to as a Hedge Ball, Horse Apple, Green Brains, Monkey Balls or Mock Orange. In Texas, they call them Horse Apples, in fact they write poems about them (click here for the poem). Thank you Nancy for letting us post it.
- The hedge tree has several names, Osage Orange (most popular) and Bodark (French) and Maclura pomifera (scientific name). Naturalist, Jim Mason has posted a very professional page about Osage Orange.
- The Osage Orange is native to a limited area centered on the Red River valley in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas.
- Strangely the oldest and biggest Osage Orange tree is in Virginia. Why isn't it in its native states? I challenge the people of Oklahoma and Texas to find an older and bigger Osage Orange tree and take your rightful place.
- Not all of the Osage Orange trees will have fruit because hedge trees are either male or female.
- Osage Orange is a cousin to the mulberry tree.
- It is rumored that During WWII GI's were fed hedgeapples due to food shortages. If anyone knows the details on this, please email or put in the guestbook.
- Hedge Wood has several top characteristics:
- Has highest strength for primitive bows used in archery. For more information see Mike Easter's Osage Orange page. He is as devoted to Osage Orange tree as I am.
- Highest in rot resistance without additives.
- Dried hedge is highest in BTU's when used as firewood. Hedge wood is the closest to a piece of coal as you can get. Check this link out to see which dried wood has the most BTU's. Mr. Hedgeapple is No. 1 here too!
- Green Hedge puts on the most spectacular light show when burned in a fireplace. Occasionally, I would put some green hedge in our fireplace and watch the fireworks. It emits sparkles constantly and some can go over a yard in distant. There are never large pops, just a constant blevy of very small sparks that would go through the fireplace screen. They were not large enough to mark clothes or carpet when they land. It is not recommend to use green hedge as firewood unless in a sealed stove. However, dried hedge is much more quiet, safer, and has more BTU's than any other dried wood. As with all woods, you still should use a protective screen or shield between the fireplace and the room.
- Could Hedge wood be the best for making string musical instruments?
- Gary Woodall thinks it might be. Check out his Guitar. Move over famed violin maker, Antonio Stradivari, Gary is here!!
- There is an person in Americus, Ks who makes Harps from Osage Orange because he believes it is the most dimensionally stable of all woods when aged and placed under strain.
- Hedge wood is an attractive yellow wood. Check the pens by Mimosa Custom Pens.
Articles about Hedgeapples
Martha Stewart Living Magazine, Nov., 2001, Page 5
"Enjoying Hedge Apples" Article discusses uses of Hedgeapples.
HedgeappleFruit.com is mentioned in it! We're so proud!
Article by Iowa State University's Entomology Department Research study states "Chemicals produced naturally by the osage orange (also known as hedgeapple) repel German cockroaches."
The Versatile Osage-Orange (Hedgeapple)
A good starting point for the person that want's to know the history and the properties of the osage orange tree. This is a very good read!
Crafts Using Hedgeapples
Growing and Planting
- Planting Hedge Trees - Old Timers told our friend Clark Knapp that they started Hedge Rows by dumping the Hedgeapples in a barrel, letting them sit over the winter allowing them to freeze and thaw until spring when they were soft. They then mashed them, added water and poured the slurry into a plowed furrow and cover about a inch or two. They kept the hedgeapples moist during the winter by drilling holes and letting about 2 inches of water stand in the bottom (if all the fruit is left submerged for extended length of time, they will not sprout). Mr Knapp is only 86 years old, and claims he is a few days away from being an Old Timer himself. I assume this method would be a good technique if one would want the hedge row to act as a fence. Mr. Knapp knows his business. Picture at right was taken on his farm. I tried this planting technique last spring and it works (over 300 seedlings in a 8 ft hedgerow). Complete description of Hedgeapple seed experiment.
- Small Osage orange trees can also be snatched from pastures. Identifying the tree can be tricky, hedgeapple trees have leaves very similar to Mulberry trees. You definitely do not want a wild Mulberry tree attracting flies to your front yard.
- Mr Hedgeapple will be preparing seed this winter and might have some available for sale. The winter season is the best time to plant trees to reduce stress & promote healthier growth. I am selling trees from my garden hedge row now (email me for details).
Recent Guestbook Entries
These hedge apple grow wild around here. They are very good at curing many ailments and curing cancer. They are frozen whole and taken out to grate off a tablespoon a few times a day. Great insects repellent but the sappy stuff can burn skin directly. If taken orally, should drink water to wash it down. It has been said the native American noticed their similarity to the shape of the cancerous tumors
Hi we live in manhattan and we have one of these trees in our park. happy to hear they repel bugs...will check it out
Recent Survey Entries
Years used: 1
How many used: 60
Obtained: Picked your own
Places where used: garage bedroom basement batheroom kitchen
Pest After: all of them
Spiders: No Reduction
Cockroaches: No Reduction
Ants: No Reduction
Slugs: No Reduction
Crickets: No Reduction
Fleas: No Reduction
Date Obtained: November
Any initial activity? Yes
Started Working?: Never
Duration of Effect: Never
How widespread: Effects were not noticed!
Place them on a container? Always
General Comments: these suck.
Did They Work: No
Years used: 3
How many used: 12
Places where used: All Rooms
Pest After: Fleas
Spiders: 50% Reduction
Cockroaches: Not Sure
Ants: Not Sure
Slugs: Not Sure
Crickets: Not Sure
Fleas: 100% Reduction
Date Obtained: July
Any initial activity? No
Started Working?: One Day
Duration of Effect: Three Months
How widespread: Widespread, throughout the house
Place them on a container? Always
General Comments: NEED MORE HEDGE APPLES.
Did They Work: Yes