Brazos Bend State Park
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Gator Hatch

Twelve Trees of Brazos Bend State Park

Bois D’arc or Osage Orange

Maclura pomifera

DECIDIOUS—Will grow to 60 feet.

LEAVES: Simple, alternate, 3-6” long, hairy at first then lustrous later. The leaves turn yellow in autumn.

BARK: Brown to orange, deeply furrowed ridges rounded and interlacing. Large thorns are found on the bark and branches of this tree.

FLOWERS: In April or May, 1-1 1/2 “ spray of non-petaled green male flowers. Female is a spherical dense head of flowers about 1” in diameter.

FRUIT: Ripens in Sept.–Oct. About the size of an orange, the fruit is really many individual fruits packed into a ball. Each bump on the fruit ball is one fruit with seed inside. Juice in the fruit is milky and acidic. Fruit smells like citrus.

Likes moist soils.

Wood is bright orange or yellow, heavy, hard, durable and strong. The tree has a milky sap. Because of its sharp spines this tree was planted as hedgerows (living fences) before the advent of barbed wire. As such, the tree was known as Hedge Apple but the fruit is neither an apple or an orange. The Osage Indians made bows from the strong and tough wood. It is considered to be one of the finest North American woods for bows. In fact, the name Bois D’Arc is French for bow wood. Early settlers extracted a yellow dye for cloth from the root bark. The tree bark was used for tanning leather.

An Osage Orange tree is found on the left side of the drive in campsite 200. Others may be found around 40 Acre Lake.

Updated: Aug 12, 2011