Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Second Look--Hedgeapples

A Second Look guest this week--Miss Landers.  Photo credits: Miss Landers

Miss Landers is introducing all kinds of things to me. First it was rutabagas and now it's hedgeapples which she found doing a Second Look around her vacation cabin.  Hedgeapples are something that I've heard about all of my life, but wasn't quite sure what they were.  Here are a few things I found out.

Hedgeapples are a bumpy fruit about the size of a grapefruit that grows on a thorny tree. They are a member of the mulberry family and have naturalized all over the United States although they are quite common in the prairies where rows of them were planted as wind breaks. Also, when they were allowed to grow together as a thorny hedge, the trees provided an effective fence for cattle. Hedgeapple trees were used extensively for cattle management until the invention of barbed wire. (Are you starting to get the idea of where the name "hedgeapple" came from?)

Although not toxic, they aren't as popular as you think they would be in the food world. The hulls are tough to get into which sends a lot of animals elsewhere. However, our friend, the squirrel, manages to chew to the inside to get to the tasty seeds.
Miss Landers found the ground littered with them.

We humans don't eat them either, but we do use the tree and its fruit for a few other things. Many people swear by the insect repellent properties of the hedgeapple, but as usual, the scientists don't see any real proof it helps. The wood of the tree is quite dense and is used to make bows. Many think it makes the best bows in the world.
This hedgeapple got caught between branches during its fall.

I know a little more about hedgeapples now. I can't wait to visit Miss Landers' vacation cabin and see the hedgeapples for myself.

(BTW:  Hedgeapples are also known as Osage oranges, horse apples, and bodarks.)

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1 comment:

  1. Also the wood is orange and it will not burn for squat and it is VERY hard. I have seen sparks coming from a chainsaw while trying to cut some up. Neat post!


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