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Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera)

Family: Mulberry (Mo­ra­ce­ae).

Common Names: Hedge Apple, Bodark, Bois d'Arc, Bowwood, Bodeck, Bodock, Geelhout, Hedge, Hedge-plant, Horse Apple, Maclura, Mock Orange, Naranjo Chino, Osage, Osage Apple-tree, Rootwood, Wild Orange, Yellow-wood.

Its use as a large hedge tree in a row planting and the softball-sized fruits of female trees give it the alternative common name of Hedge Apple. The Osage Indians of the southern Great Plains and the resemblance of its fruits to lime-colored oranges give it the more common name of Osage Orange. As a member of the Mulberry Family, it is related to Mulberries and Figs.

A natural insect repellant, "hedge apples" contain a chemical (2,3,4,5-tetrahydroxystilbene) that repels many bugs: cockroaches, crickets, spiders, fleas, box elder bugs and ants.

The heartwood is golden yellow when freshly cut, becoming russet brown upon exposure to air. It is ring porous and commonly confused with black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia).

This hardest of all commercially available woods is used to make the best bows for archery, tool handles, and musical instruments. When used as fenceposts or laid-down timbers, it takes decades to completely rot.

Hard and heavy, difficult to work, rough on edged tools, it holds glue and screws well, but is almost impossible to nail due to its density. Popular as a turning wood and among musical instrument makers. It takes a high luster and is very stable when dry. Considered by many to be the very best wood for archery bows. Takes a nice polish, but oil finishes will darken the color.