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.
We rented a 100 yr old store building a year ago. For months we marveled that we had found no insects, spiders or mice in boxes and boxes full of old stuff stored there for 15 years. No insects, spiders, mice or evidence were found anywhere in the building. The building had not been cleaned for over 15 years. In an environment like that you would naturally expect mice, spiders and bugs. Because of the discovery at the store, yesterday we went and picked up 4 bags full in a road ditch about 8 miles from home. We'll try them at home and put some fresh ones at the store.
I never even heard of a Hedge Apple before moving to Iowa from Michigan. I found a tree and gathered quite a few, brought them home, and placed each on a paper plate. I have not seen a single spider in my apartment! I will continue to use them every year.
We had a problem with cochroaches appearing on an almost daily basis. Within two days of placing 8 hedgeapples in the rooms of the house, the cockroaches stopped appearing. We saw the first bug maybe 5 weeks later.
- 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
I am a teacher and a parent brought in a bunch of hedgeapples for the children to explore. She provided literature about the "orange" from the wikipedia site and while reading it I saw it contains latex. We are a latex free school and I ahve children who are allergic to latex. Can anyone tell me if this "latex" is the kind which is an allergen or a plant extract of no threat? Thank you.
- K Stine
HI, I WAS DOWN IN KNOXVILLE,TENN. LAST WEEK AND FOUND SOME APPLES ACROSS FROM MY SISTERS HOUSE.I GATHERED ABOUT A BUSHEL BEFORE I CAME BACK TO OWENSBORO.I HAD HEARD THAT THEY GET RID OF UNWANTED BUGS. OUR NEIGHBOR HAS A ROACH PROBLEM SO THAT MEANS THAT WE HAD SOME ROACHES TOO.WE TRIED EVERY ROACH KILLER KNOWN TO MAN,AND NOTHING SEEMED TO HELP.WHEN I BROUGHT THEM HOME FRIDAY AFTERNOON,I SET THE BASKET OF THEM IN OUR BACK ROOM.THAT NIGHT MY FREIND PUT THEM OUT IN BOWLS ALL OVER THE HOUSE.SATURDAY MORNING THERE WAS DEAD AND SICK ROACHES ALL OVER THE PLACE.GUESS THEY WERE HIDING IN THE WALLS.NEVER KNEW WE HAD SO MANY.GAVE ME THE CREEPS!!!!! SO BELEIVE YOU ME THEY WORK!!!HTE MOST WONDERFUL THING TO HAPPEN TO ME IN A LONG TIME.AND TO THINK OF ALL THE MONEY WE SPENT ON ALL OF THAT ROACH KILLER.I AM GOING TO TAKE SOME OF THE SEEDS FROM THESE APPLES AND TRY TO START SOME TREES.I WAS ON THIS SIGHT CHECKING IF THESE APPLES WERE POISIONOUS,WHICH THEY ARE NOT,BECAUSE WE HAVE A FEW DOGS,AND THOUGHT I WOULD LET YOU ALL KNOW ABOUT HOW GOOD THEY ARE.WISH THEY WERE IN SEASON ALL YEAR LONG.SEE NATURE WILL HELP YOU IF YOU KNOW HOW TO LET IT.THANK YOU GOD FOR THESE TREES. SHEILA ANN RAINS
Recent Survey Entries
Years used: 1
How many used: 12
Places where used: I had an exorbitant amount (12) for a small apartment. I put them in corners and everywhere.
Pest After: cockroaches
Spiders: Not Sure
Cockroaches: Not Sure
Ants: Not Sure
Slugs: Not Sure
Crickets: Not Sure
Fleas: Not Sure
Date Obtained: September
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: Out of 12 in a small localized area, one started to mold in two weeks, two had black eye holes in them in which small flys began to fester, and a certain wire frame leg spider (reminiscent of a daddy long leg) was found crawling on them. I've never seen the spider before and never noticed the flys before. I don't see cockroaches too often so reduction is questionable. These things creeped me out anyway. .
Did They Work: No
Years used: 35
How many used: 12
Obtained: Picked your own
Places where used: under stairway, basement, garage, just any where pesty pests can gather.
Pest After: spiders, fleas, crickets
Spiders: 100% Reduction
Cockroaches: Not Sure
Ants: Not Sure
Slugs: Not Sure
Crickets: 75% Reduction
Fleas: 100% Reduction
Date Obtained: October
Any initial activity? No
Started Working?: One Week
Duration of Effect: Six Months
How widespread: Widespread, throughout the house
Place them on a container? Most of the time
General Comments: born and raised on the farm, it was something we always used. Didn't have to buy the store boughten chemicals. Don't live on the farm now but a cousin has about 13 trees along his long lane and they are so plentyfull this year after the flood. I now live in town and the who neighborhood is supplied with hedge apples..
Did They Work: Yes