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News Releases Archive (Prior to 2011)

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick: Osage orange trees (for the week of Oct. 14, 2001)

October 2, 2001

Dear Twig: What are hedge apples? My father points them out to me when we’re driving in the country. Oo, I like hedge apples. The hedge apple tree is one of my favorites. It’s also called Osage orange or, scientifically, Maclura pomifera. The hedge apple/Osage orange is a medium-size tree that grows big honkin’ fruit. These fruit aren’t apples and they also aren’t oranges. Instead, they’re green like a frog, as big as a softball and wrinkled like a brain. If Newton had been konked by one he would’ve been knocked silly. I don’t know Bob the Bug’s excuse. Some folks risk konking. They gather hedge apples then put them in their homes. They claim hedge apples keep out pests. Whether this actually works or not hasn’t been proven by science. But one study has shown that certain oils in the fruit, some of them unidentified, make roaches run away. Osage oranges are native to parts of Texas and Oklahoma. But you can find them growing in most other states. They were widely planted as living fences before the invention of barbed wire. Another common name is bodark, or bois d’arc -- French for “wood of the bow.” Osage orange wood makes great bows. Long-lasting fence posts, too. All in all it’s quite a tree! Twig Hey Editor! Ken Cochran, curator, Secrest Arboretum, OARDC, Ohio State University, reviewed this column. Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick," a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, is a weekly science column for kids. "Twig" is a bow tie-wearing cartoon walkingstick, a type of insect. He's the voice of the column and appears at the left in the hard-copy version. "Bob the Bug," Twig's pal, is a bald-headed bug of an unidentified type who doesn't say much and appears in the bottom-right corner. For more information or to receive "Twig" columns by mail or e-mail, contact Kurt Knebusch, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, OH 44691, (330) 263-3776,

Kurt Knebusch
Ken Cochran