Native michigan tree orange fruit osage

Native michigan tree orange fruit osage

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O my gosh, does this bring back memories of my Michigan youth! If you crease the bumpy skin with your fingernail, it will ooze latex. I seem to remember that the fruit had a kind of pleasant smell. Am I just imagining that? Interesting, a plant whose vector has gone extinct.

  • Maclura pomifera (Raf.) Schneid.
  • The Big Trees and Shrubs of Michigan 39. Morus alba L. var. pendula Dippel Weeping White Mulberry
  • Osage-Orange (Maclura)
  • Receive New Plant Releases & Stock Updates.
  • The Osage Orange Tree: Useful and Historically Significant
  • Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange)
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: How to eat an Osage Orange - Weird Fruit Explorer Ep. 119

Maclura pomifera (Raf.) Schneid.

Part of an ongoing series about the post-modern hedgerow and its uses in the landscape. Under a gray October sky, with a stiff prairie breeze coming from the south and west, six people were planting little saplings along the line that divides our Quaker-owned property from an expansive field to the west.

A farming friend, also a Quaker, who lives down the road and helps care for the property, walked over, smiling under his baseball cap. What are you putting in? What are you doing that for? What will I say to my neighbors? Everybody around here hates them.

The hedge apples are bad for the machinery. My friend is in his seventies and has lived in Putnam County, Illinois his entire life. He remembers when farms used to be small mixed farms with long crop rotations, livestock, chickens and vegetable gardens. What a lot of work. But still, he was wondering: why on earth would we ever plant Osage-oranges now?

And what will he tell the neighbors, especially the farmer next door to our property, once the trees are big enough to be identifiable? In the fall of , I had asked an acquaintance to bring me some hedge apples, Osage-orange fruits, from the Quaker campus at McNabb, Putnam County, Illinois.

My idea was that I would propagate them in my backyard so that we could create a wildlife friendly, post-modern hedgerow on the west side of campus where our land abuts land planted to soy or corn in alternate years.

The trees would be the backbone, the spaces filled in with other small native trees, shrubs, and possibly forbs and grasses. I described the hedge apples: fluorescent green, softball-sized spheres, the color appealing, even stylish. The skin is deeply wrinkled, like an orange with character, or a small brain.

There is a distinct orange-y, citrusy odor. Armed with this description, she collected about ten, brought them to me, and I arranged them in a misshapen pyramid under the pagoda dogwood in my backyard, between the native ginger and the Iris reticulata.

I did this on the advice of 19th century sources that said that letting the hedge apples age over the winter would make it much easier to remove the seeds and plant them come spring. Besides their distinctive green color, recently dropped hedge apples are very firm; inside is a sticky, milky sap with seeds lodged firmly within. You could play a game of catch with one, or set a few in the basement to help repel insects, but for planting, it really is best to let them age. In the spring, what had been firm green balls were now misshapen brown blobs.

The skin had lost its integrity and had softened like wet cardboard. The sticky white interior matrix had become a reddish, slimy gel. It was planting time. Farmers in prior times would closely plant mail-order whips or plow a very shallow an inch or less furrow and plant with a slurry of mashed, aged hedge apples. With regular trimming, the resultant thick growth would become a stout, thorny hedge.

The seeds need warmth, light and contact with mineral soil to sprout. In the interest of experimentation, I planted some outdoors in an old window box planter and a couple of other containers and some in flats in the greenhouse at my school.

A couple of weeks later they had all germinated, coddled or not. When they had a few true leaves, I transplanted them into some old 4-inch pots I had sitting around and when I ran out of those, simply left the ones in the window box alone. That June I brought the greenhouse-grown ones home to sit with the others and then basically ignored them, other than occasional water, for the rest of the summer. They thrived.Luckily, they were still in their small pots, so after harvesting the tomatoes and basil from my semi-raised bed, I buried the pots in the dirt and then spread a inch thick blanket of straw over the whole, so that only the little saplings were visible.

A second polar vortex winter ensued. Would they make it? The Osage-orange, Maclura pomifera , is an ancient tree, a prehistoric survivor. Though related to the mulberry, it is alone in its genus, and is native to the North American continent, where it thrives in zones —across the Great Plains and up to Ontario.

Officially, it is only native to the Red River region of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, which is where it was growing at the time of European settlement. Thus, it has not conventionally been considered native here in Illinois, or even in Missouri, where it grows freely in the woods. The tree is fairly small, rarely reaching more than 50 feet when allowed to grow without cutting back.

In full sunlight, with plenty of space between, it develops multiple stems. It is dioecious—that is there are male and female trees; the female produces the distinctive fruit.

It is thorny in the extreme and has the ability to sucker freely after coppicing. Pruning, trimming and coppicing only increase its tangled, thicketing behavior. Nineteenth-century farmers prized the wood because it is so good for making tool handles and fence posts. And, valuable on the treeless prairie during long cold winters prior to easy access to fossil fuels, the wood burns hot and long, almost like charcoal, even requiring a coal grate. John Kennicott, both of Illinois, were able to promote it with such ease.

Turner researched and grew several species of hedging plants and touted Osage-orange as the best. Kennicott claimed that Osage-orange trees offered more economic benefits to farmers than any other crop. These men were not thinking about whether or not the tree was native or the effect it would have on ecosystems; they wanted to help farmers settle and thrive on the fertile prairies.

Now, a person inclined to think speculatively or ecologically about plant forms might look at an Osage-orange and start wondering. For example: why does this tree respond so well to coppicing, growing only denser and thornier?

Why is it so thorny in the first place? Strangely, for years, few people asked these questions. The tree went from being desirable to undesirable as cultures and agricultural practices changed. In the 20th century some of those questions did begin to be asked, but actually planting Osage-oranges, on purpose, outside of the historic range, was frowned upon, not only by farmers in the grip of the industrial farming enchantment, but also by people concerned with the ecological preservation and restoration of historic wild or natural landscapes using native plants.

These questions are easily turned around: In what sort of ecosystem, including animals, might such a tree evolve so that it could thrive and, in fact, expand its range?

What would the pressures be, and what the opportunities? Trees that, when young, are grazed—or subjected to fire—often adapt to re-sprout vigorously. Trees that want to survive grazing also often develop thorns. The fundamental question becomes, in what kind of landscape would the tree do well and what kinds of animals would eat hedge apples such that the seeds would travel and germinate elsewhere?

But the seriously sizable thorns? The big heavy fruits? The tree seems evolved to simultaneously repel and attract some really, really big herbivores. Yet our historic landscape has always lacked any native herbivores of the size that would think large thorns only somewhat of an impediment, or find the fruits just right for snacking. They hypothesized that prior to about 13, years ago, when elephant-like gomphotheres, giant ground sloths pounds to 3 tons and other species of megafauna roamed the Americas, Cassia grandis would have had a wider range, the fruits being dispersed by these animals.

Then, roughly 13, years ago, the glaciers retreated, and climate warming ensued, driving some species to extinction. The megafauna lost out. Gone the gomphotheres, the 5-ton mastodons, the 6-ton wooly mammoths and 9-ton Columbian mammoths, gone the giant ground sloths, native horses and camels. Could something similar to what happened to Cassia grandis have happened to the Osage-orange? It appears likely.

To a 9-ton Columbian mammoth or 5-ton mastodon, hedge apples might seem the size a chocolate truffle is to us. As they browsed, roamed, ate the fruits and pooped out the seeds, the co-evolved tree maintained and possibly expanded its range. From the field of paleoecology, with its analysis of fossilized pollen, comes the news that Osage-orange was indeed once dispersed throughout North America up to Ontario; in fact there were once seven separate species of Maclura.

That range, of course, is about the same as where the tree is found now, thanks to modern humans, the new disperser. Thus, in planting our hedgerow, you could say we were planting a native species after all. All the saplings did indeed survive the winter. When the weather warmed up and they leafed out, I potted them on in some old one and two gallon pots. They sat in my backyard all summer; we had decided that it would be best to plant them in early fall, counting on fall rains to help them acclimate.

Finally, we set a planting date, took them out to McNabb and started in to work. We were going to let them grow into whatever their natural forms would be. Why was that? Because, I explained, we are making a post-modern hedgerow. The discussion went on, different members of the group chiming in. We are planning to infill with other wild native species of small trees and shrubs.

We think that the Osage-oranges will help provide an environment where other species can take hold. Plants do that, the right plants in the right place helping create, or recreate a bio-diverse ecosystem that welcomes other, compatible plants; they all work together to create soil health through the process of photosynthesis. Besides serving as a form of windbreak against the strong prevailing west winds, it will serve as a shelterbelt for local birds and wildlife.

And maybe helping birds could be worked in. Everyone likes birds, and many of his neighbors have noticed how once common species such as red-headed woodpeckers are no longer so evident. In creating this shelterbelt, this post-modern hedgerow, I like to think my friends and I are doing a form of restoration that Aldo Leopold might recognize, similar to the work he did with farmers in Wisconsin.

Some ancient worked landscapes, in Italy, for example, have resulted over time in increased biodiversity. On our property, islanded by a sea of industrial farming, we cannot return the field to the timber and prairie that once cloaked the soil; we cannot return it to a point in its historic trajectory where it could continue on a path it might have followed had it been farmed less, with less toxic methods, and more of it left wild. By renewing a physical aspect of the landscape in danger of being lost or forgotten, we are re-affirming the history, but also, in our use of these ancient trees, reaching beyond our human history to help pull deeper time into the present—as those 19th century farmers were doing all unbeknownst to them.

And we are, by beginning to reintroduce native biodiversity, pushing small levers in the currently established system. One could say we are performing an act of manumission in a place where the land has been enslaved—turned into property and used exclusively for our purposes—which, after years of farming, has brought on serious natural and cultural imbalance and loss.

The Big Trees and Shrubs of Michigan 39. Morus alba L. var. pendula Dippel Weeping White Mulberry

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flower clusters, an orange color in fall and purple to blue edible fruit. More upright and tree form than the species with numerous yellow.

Osage-Orange (Maclura)

The Osage orange tree drops its fruit, a bumpy, yellow-green apple-sized sphere, in fall. Inside is a fleshy exterior and tiny seeds. As I was driving away from an interview at a Medina County cut-your-own Christmas tree farm the story is coming soon , I noticed a number of large, bumpy spheres that looked like pale oranges lying underneath a grove of trees near the road. They were the same objects I often saw this time of year while walking in my Cleveland Heights neighborhood. A few days later, during an interview at Cuyahoga Community College's horticulture department, I spotted the mystery spheres on a tree identification poster. Greg Malone, the plant science program director, told me the weird objects were the fruit of the Osage orange tree. There isn't a nut inside, just a fleshy center and tiny seeds, he said. The Osage orange tree, or Maclura pomifera, was introduced into Ohio during the 's, and is commonly seen in fields and fencerows in rural communities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry.

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Moderator, Treatment Free Beekeepers group on Facebook.The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. John Elliott wrote: Purchase?!? This is the time of year to be taking cuttings. Whenever you go out, take your pruning shears with you and be ready to snip.

Part of an ongoing series about the post-modern hedgerow and its uses in the landscape.

The Osage Orange Tree: Useful and Historically Significant

Autumn is the best time to see those warty, wrinkly looking fruits called Osage oranges, and this year, I have a good number of them growing at my farm. The Osage orange, Maclura pomifera, is actually not an orange at all, and is more commonly known as a hedge apple, horse apple, bowwood, yellow-wood or bodark. These distinctly ugly, almost otherworldly-looking fruits are considered inedible because of the texture and taste, but they are very interesting and fun to grow. Go to marthastewart. Next Post ».

Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange)

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists. Medium-sized, thorny tree with short, often crooked trunk; broad, rounded or irregular crown of spreading branches; single, straight, stout thorns at base of some leaves; and milky sap. A durable tree , once planted in hedgerows; furnished bow wood for the Osage Indians. Bark yellowish brown, furrowed. Small branches with thorns up to 1 inch long. Leaves, including petiole , up to 9 inches long, shiny, ovate to narrower with a smooth margin. Flowers inconspicuous.

Though the Osage orange tree is incredibly useful for fencing, its fruit is inedible and Between May and July, the species sports tiny greenish flowers.

A few weeks ago I was counting birds in rural Marion County in central Ohio. My count partner Jim and I were participating in one of the many Audubon Christmas Bird Counts that take place all across the country each December. As we emerged from the woods, we came upon this fascinating osage orange tree Maclura pomifera.

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The Ohio State University. If you can look past the large fruits currently dropping from this native tree unless one drops on your windshield and select more mannerly cultivars of this tough native tree, Osage-orange can be a go-to tree for difficult urban sites.

But what, exactly, makes a good fence? Well, believe it or not, there is such a fence. During the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first few decades of this one — up until the time barbed wire became widely available and inexpensive — settlers and farmers throughout much of the eastern half of the United States planted their fences. More often than not, the tree they used was the Osage orange tree, sometimes also called prairie hedge, hedge apple, horse apple, bowwood or yellow-wood. Most folks today, though, know it only for its distinctly ugly, almost otherworldly-looking fruit: an inedible, fleshy green orb the size of a grapefruit or large orange, with a warty, furrowed surface sparsely covered with long, coarse hairs. When you break the globe open, it exudes a bitter, milky, sticky sap that eventually turns black and that gives some people an irritating rash.

There are two Osage-Orange tree mapped in arboretum. However there are no donation records for this species. These trees were measured on 21 JuneWhen measured, the first tree had a diameter at breast height d.

Watch the video: Do Osage Orange Trees Grow in Michigan? (August 2022).