Photograph from Lewis and Clark Herbarium/Academy of Natural Sciences
Osage Orange Tree (Bodark Hedge-apple)
March 26, 1804, in St. Louis, Missouri.
Medium-size spiny tree with short, often crooked trunk; broad, rounded or irregular crown of spreading branches; and milky sap. Flowers tiny, greenish; crowded in rounded clusters less than 1 in (2.5 cm) in diameter. Height: 50 ft (15 m). Diameter: 2 ft (0.6 m).
Moist soils of river valleys.
The native range uncertain. Southwestern Arkansas to eastern Oklahoma and Texas; widely planted and naturalized in the eastern and northwestern states.
Rows of these spiny plants served as fences in the grassland plains before the introduction of barbed wire. The name "Bodark" is from the French bois d'arc, meaning "bow wood," referring to Native Americans' use of the wood for archery bows. Early settlers extracted a yellow dye for cloth from the root bark.