Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tennis, anyone?!

I had never heard of bois d'arc trees (pronounced like "bo-dark") until we moved to the country NE of Dallas many years ago.  The City considers them scrub trees and will remove them from common areas.  The few times I saw the apples lying in the street, I mistook them for errant tennis balls overshot from someone's court or spilled from a car.  It wasn't until we moved to the country and discovered we had our very own bois d'arc in the front yard of that place that I was educated to this tree and its fruit. 
The apples are sometimes referred to as "horse apples", although only one of our horses would actually eat them.  They're also called "Osage oranges" (the Osage Indians used the tree limbs for making bows).  I've seen the apples made into witches for Halloween decor as their green wrinkly appearance makes for a great witchy face.  But mostly I see them smashed along the ditches after they've fallen into the roadways. 
Here's the tree from whence these came...
The wood is remarkably hard and heavy and yellow in appearance.  Some rather interesting and beautifully stained furniture can be made from it.  Craftsmen make wonderful benches, fireplace mantels, clocks and other decorative items from it as it turns a deep gold/amber color further enhanced when polished.  That's some scrub tree...

13 comments:

Sharon said...

It's always nice to learn something new, I had heard of them but had no idea. I don't think they grow here in TN.

Melodie said...

We have one in the back.I just read how the pioneers used them to make a living fence row...I am thinking of trying it!

Nancy said...

Interesting! I believe the early Nebraska settlers used osage orange trees for early windbreaks, but you don't see them here very often now. It is a lovely "scrub" tree!

Deb said...

my husband and his friends had fights with those horse apples when they were kids...don't you know it hurt to get hit by one...fun post

Verde Farm said...

Are these the same thing as hedge apples? They look similar but I didn't know if there was a difference. If so, people sell these in speciality shops after they are dried and put them in bowls and crafts. They are a pretty green.
Amy

texwisgirl said...

Yes, Amy, I think they're the same thing. :)

Allison said...

My sister used to have a walnut tree in her front yard, and I remember pelting my brother-in-law with them on winter days (of course that was after he had instructed my nephews to pin me down so he could drench me with the garden hose! Wish I'd had some of these apples...

texwisgirl said...

Weapons of "mash" destruction, it seems...

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

Very cool, weird, unique. Never have seen them before. Thanks! I learned something new this morning. What do they look like inside?

texwisgirl said...

Karen, inside they're kind of mealy/woody textured with some seeds. They're juicy too (my horse used to slobber a bit when she'd bite into them). If you click on the center photo to enlarge it, you can see that one smushed one a bit...

wayside wanderer said...

We have a fruitless variety in our back, but the fruit of these are all over our neighborhood. They are nasty when smashed. My mom grew up in east texas and she said that they would cut the fruit in half and put them near their trash. It was supposed to keep varmints away. And a friend in Montana says they sell these in her grocery store! ha! Can you imagine paying for these?

Farmchick said...

In my area these are known as hedge apples. They are great to decorate with and some folks think they help keep spiders away.

Kent Island Red said...

Thank you for that education. We have some of those trees across the street from us and I had NO idea what they were. I've noticed that when some of the apples fall to the ground, some people will actually stop their cars to collect them, but I had NO idea why.

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