Monday, January 9, 2012

What is an Osage-Orange? (Patagonia, AZ)

I saw these deformed looking tennis balls (or are they deformed aliens?) once in Texas along the road and I promptly forgot about them until they showed up on the preserve about a month ago.  Dan was curious enough to look up the strange looking ...well, at the time we were not sure.  Anyway, he found out these green balls are fruits from the Osage-Orange tree a.k.a Hedge tree.  The Hedge tree has very long and thick thorns.  The tree was planted as a hedge because cattle would not go through them.  If they were kept trim, they would not bare fruit.
 Yes, this is a fruit, but only deer and squirrels eat them.  For awhile, we saw no evidence of anything eating the fruit then Dan found a half Osage-orange propped in a tree. hmm  Did someone put it there or did an animal leave it?  We were thinking a visitor put it there until...

We saw this squirrel moving around the fallen Osage-oranges.  He finally found one he liked and picked it up.  
What a mouth full!
 He found himself a comfortable spot and had lunch while we watched him.
Well, I learned something new! :0)
More information about this fruit from IAStateEdu.


  1. I will have to look those up. At first I thought it looked a lot like a kind of quince. They also have mis-shapen fruit and thorns. Cute pictures of that squirrel.

  2. I saw these once in Eastern North Carolina a couple of years ago. Took a bunch of pictures, cause I had no idea what they were, and had to ask a ton of people before I found out. This is the only other time I've seen or heard anything about them since then. Thanks!

  3. How interesting. They do look like tennis balls except for the bumps.

  4. These grow in our back pasture too. We toss them up under the house to keep pest insects away, like the big wood roaches. While there is no information to support the theory that they work, we aren't having any problems.

  5. This made me laugh, dont the squirrels look so cute. Never seen these fruite before x

  6. u learn something new everyday. nice pics

  7. Love the squirrel photos! These grew where my aunt used to live and we had the same puzzled thoughts about them, until we finally figured it out. Although having Google back then would have been really helpful in that quest.

  8. Happy to hear that BeckValleyBooks!

  9. Thanks Michelle! Yep, I used the Library a lot for researching. Lots of hours spent looking through books just for one answer of What is it? I can't live without Google now!

  10. I've never seen those before. Learning something new everyday, thanks! ☺ I always love your pics too ♥

  11. I think this is what we call Hedge Apples. cute squirrels. I love them.

  12. That is crazy, that squirrel must have jaws of steel, LOL! I'm also surprised that it was eating the fruit, around here we're told that hedgeapples deter mice. I do know that the wood of hedgeapples is extremely hard and makes awesome firewood (and fenceposts).

  13. They say they are good to put in your cupboards to keep the bugs away. Love this article.

  14. Never knew about the Osage Orange! They're gorgeous! The yellow-green color and texture are fantastic! All of my art is inspired by nature, so this is really fascinating and exciting to learn about something new in nature!

    Love your photo of the squirrel running with one in its little mouth! :)

    So nice to meet you through Etsy’s Blogging Buddies Team.
    I am your newest blog follower! :)

    All the best,
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  15. Hi Grace, You are right they are also called Hedge Apples. I wonder how they got that name?

  16. Hi Lonesome Road Studio, I've seen them crack some tough looking nuts. I have heard the wood is very hard and good for many different things. I'm certainly learning a lot from everyone's comments.

  17. Thanks Patty, Interesting, I'll have to check that out.

  18. Hi Mary, Thank you for following my blog! I have been following you for awhile. I love your artwork. Do you plan to use an Osage orange in one of them? I can't wait to see it!

  19. How cute! You were able to get some really good pics of the squirrel with it. I've seen those here in Alabama before and had no clue what they were. they look like nasty green brains. I learned something new today thanks!

  20. In Oklahoma Osage Orange are called Bois d'Arc and they used to be used for bows (the wood is very strong and flexible) and when planted in rows, the trees make very effective cattle fence - kind of a natural barbed wire. Kids in Ohio (where I grew up)called the fruit "monkey balls."

    Found you through Blogging Buddies - glad I did!

    Empty On the Inside
    Dough, Dirt & Dye

  21. We have osage oranges here is SW Ohio, too.
    Amazing that the squirrel actually carried one away! Those things are big! great shots!

    1. Thanks Splendid Little Stars! I think squirrels have jaws of steel.


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