Oranges?

Not as I know them. These intriguing looking “fruit?” are known by so many different names – Osage oranges, monkey balls, mock oranges, horse apple, bow wood – to name but a few. Its Latin name is Maclura pomifera, if that helps….

Apparently a closer relation to the mulberry than to the Orange, it does have a distinctly citrusy scent which is actually very pleasant.  Grown as a bush or tree, unchecked it can become quite a tall tree. We have two that are well over 30 feet tall! It does have thorns, though I guess our’s are so high up we don’t encounter them, but settlers used to use the thorny bushes to mark their territories. The early version of barbed wire fencing.

American Indians used to use the wood for bows, hence the bow wood name. It is very strong and resistant to rot. There are also some indications that the sap has been used to treat or prevent cancer.

Horse apple certainly seems an apt name for us to call it as our horse, Blaze, will not eat regular apples (go figure!) but he LOVES these. Rather unusual looking inside, not to mention its bumpy, slightly sticky skin.

Plus you can see how large they get compared to a regular orange:

For us, though, yet another free source of food from our new home.

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