Can You Eat Hedge Apples?

Can You Eat Hedge Apples

Can You Eat Hedge Apples? Hedge apples, also known as Osage orange or horse apple, come from a tiny deciduous tree or a huge shrub that develops to be 30-50 feet tall. The hedge apple is generally spherical, lumpy, and 8 to 15 centimeters in diameter, with a striking yellow-green fall color. When cut or damaged, it secretes a sticky white latex.

It is a Moraceae, a member of the Plantae kingdom’s mulberry family. You may come upon these lovely and appealing fruits and wonder, “Can you eat hedge apple?” Unfortunately, hedge apples are not suited for human eating due to their sticky latex secretions and woody pulp.

Can You Eat Hedge Apples
Can You Eat Hedge Apples

Squirrels and chipmunks, on the other hand, may consume these fruits. Cattle, for example, are likely to perish if they consume them. It can be caused by their big size and thick skin settling in the esophagus, which will choke the animal and take their life.

Where Did Hedge Apples Come From?

Hedge apples are derived from the Osage orange tree, which is a deciduous species (Maclura pomifera). Other names for the hedge apple tree include:

  • Bodak
  • Bow-wood
  • apple horse and
  • Hedge

You may have noticed hedge apples on your way to the grocery store and wondered, “Where did the hedge apple come from?”

The Osage tree originated in the southwest, namely in the drainage areas of Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas. The Osage and Cherokee tribes were well-known for their use of its wood. They used the wood to make hunting bows, which were worth more than a horse and blanket a few years later.

Farmers and ranchers in the Midwest began to cherish it as it gained acceptance. Because of its formidable thorns, it was utilized to build live fences, which were dubbed hedgerows. Its value grew as a result of its capacity to repel insects and resist moisture, resulting in valuable fence posts that outperformed today’s fence posts.

Can You Eat Hedge Apples

The trees were also employed as a hedge by American settlers to keep wild animals out of their gardens and cornfields. The hedge apple trees were severely clipped as they grew and generated several adventitious branches that were interlaced. As a result, they grew a dense thorny barrier hedge. Until the development of barbwire, this sort of fence was well-known and widely utilized throughout the United States.

What Are the Applications of Hedge Apple?

You may have came upon some hedge apples and discovered that eating them is not a smart idea. As a result, what are the applications of hedge apple? Despite their unappealing aspect, there are a variety of alternative applications to consider. The trees and leaves of the hedge apple can also be valuable. Examples of such applications include:

A Reliable Source of Firewood

Because of its deep, strong roots and vivid orange bark, the hedge tree is not your usual tree. Bulldozer operators have stated that it is more difficult to knock down a hedge tree than an oak. Chainsaws have a hard time cutting through the timber. When the wood has dried out, however, it burns hotter than any other wood.

Squirrels and chipmunks eat them.

Hedge apples are unpleasant to people and animals because they are hefty and have a wrinkled or rough surface that turns a yellow-green tint in the fall. When sliced, the fruit secretes a sticky latex substance that irritates the skin. It also has an orange taste, which gives the tree its name, Osage orange.

Squirrels and chipmunks are not afraid of their appearance and will tear through them to consume the interior seeds. Cattle, on the other hand, are prone to choking on them.

Useful for repelling insects.

Many insects dislike the gleaming leaves, branches, and tree bark. This is also true with hedge fruit. Chemicals found in hedge apples repel spiders and other bug species.

Because of this property, residents in the region where they are cultivated put hedge apples under their mattresses to keep spiders away. In certain circumstances, the fruit extract is believed to repel insects as well as other chemically generated repellents.

Used in the manufacture of dye

When cut, Osage-orange wood has a brilliant orange hue. Because of this property, a brilliant yellow dye is easily removed.

Makes Wood Products

When exposed to natural factors, the wood of the hedge tree turns brown. It may be used to make strong and long-lasting furniture, archery bows, and fence posts. Because of its rot resistance, it is ideal for fence posts.

It is also good for archery bow construction due to its robustness, flexibility, and durability.

Utilized in Traditional Medicine

In the past, the Comanche tribe would soak the roots of the Osage tree in water and use the infusion as an eye medication.

What are the Procedures for Making a Hedge-apple Hedge?

If you want to plant a hedge and are curious about the stages involved in making a hedge apple hedge, you are in luck. A bucket of hedge apples and a potato masher are required. Allow the fruits to be rained on, snowed on, frozen, thawed, then frozen again over the winter.

They’ll be squishy during the spring thaw, and you may smash them with a potato masher. Dig a trench and pour the pulp, seeds, and water into it, then cover with dirt. You’ll have your hedge-apple fence after the trees develop.

Conclusion

Hedge apples should not be consumed by humans. Cattle, for example, can choke on the fruits, so keep an eye out for them in your yard.

Hedge apples originated in the southwest of Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas, where the trees were used to build a hedge or barrier by Midwest farmers.

Osage trees offer a variety of applications. When dried, they make wonderful firewood as well as brilliant colors and wood goods like bows and fence posts. The fruit contains compounds that repel insects and spiders while also providing food for squirrels and chipmunks.

The hedge-apple hedge is easy to establish. In a stream, a hedge-apple pulp with seeds and water is dumped and covered with earth. They eventually develop to form a fence.

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