Osage Orange

Osage Orange

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Species: Maclura pomifera

History: Osage Orange is originally native to a small portion of Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. It was first introduced to European colonizers in the early 1800s by the Osage Nation, hence the name of the tree, who prized it for its use in making bows. It was then wildly planted across the US in hedgerows thanks to the dense, thorny hedges it forms when pruned that were impenetrable to livestock. It was in fact one of the primary trees included in President Franklin Roosevelt's Great Plains Shelterbelt project which started in 1934 and by 1942 had resulted in 220 million trees being planted. The hard, rot-resistant, yellow wood was also useful for making fence posts, tool handles, and dye.

Why We Grow It: Although the fruit produced by the Osage Orange is not considered edible, this tree has plenty of other uses! It is still commonly planted as an ornamental tree and the bright yellow inner wood adds an extra level of appeal.

Canadian Hardiness Zone: 4

Soil Preference: Prefers dry soils but adaptable to a wide variety of conditions

Growth Habits and Disease Resistance: Tree generally reaches 12-20m tall. Generally free of insect pests and diseases.

Thorns: Yes

Sun/Shade: Full sun (approx. 8-10 hours of sun daily)

Pollination: Male and female trees are required to produce fruit  

Flowering Time: Spring

Bloom Colour: Green

Ripens: September to October

Recommended Use: Ornamental, hedgerow, coppicing, wood for tool handles and fences, burning

Height Above Soil: 60cm+ 

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