Osage Orange: mock Orange, hedge apple, bois d’Arc (Maclura pomifera)
A member of the mulberry family; native to a relatively small area of south-central United States, the Osage orange tree has been naturalized everywhere in the continental US.
The tree below grows in Winterthur, Delaware, legacy of Henry Francis du Pont (1880-1969, American).
Moss directs you through the park at Winterthur to the Osage orange tree through beech and poplar trees
Osage oranges rolled away on beech leaves, late November 2018
The beech trees seem to be the last of the common deciduous trees to retain leaves until late November
An Osage orange tree grows at an angle over a pathway (September view)
The orange-brown bark of the Osage orange tree looks flaky; however the wood is a hard wood.
Large fruit (compared here to a smallish Yellow Delicious apple) fall in late November.
Until the fruit begins to break down and rot, the skin is hard and feels as you would imagine the surface of the brain to feel if it were hard.
Not poisonous to Sapiens, it is not eaten because it is dry and unpalatable. Small mammals disperse its seeds.
The underside of the skin of an Osage orange
With a faint but distinctly sweet perfume between vanilla and pineapple.
This fruit has a poor reputation for conversion into liqueur because it produces a taste tending towards petroleum. And its white sap is not only bitter but can irritate the skin of some people.
But one try at a flavoured Christmas vodka won’t hurt.