Maclura pomifera (Raf.) C.K.Schneid.

Osage Orange

Maclura aurantiaca

Maclura aurantiaca (= syn.)

Photo credit: Original from Descr. Pinus courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library - (provided by Missouri Botanical Garden) modified to provide labels.


Family: Moraceae

Genus: Maclura

Category: Tree - Deciduous

Zones: 4 to 9

Size: 20 to 40' tall and wide

Growth Rate: Fast

Exposure: Sun

Description: 

Rounded crown and short trunk. Thorny branches and fleshy yellow roots. Alternate, simple leaves, oblong with a pointed tip, 2 to 5" long, bright green. Large, pale yellow fruit, similar in appearance to an orange but less regularly shaped, in September to October. Flowers not ornamentally conspicuous in Late spring.

History: 

Native to the south and central US.

Introduced in 1818 to Britain.

Published in Ill. Handb. Laubholzk. (C.K.Schneider) 1: 806 in 1906.

Synonym: Maclura aurantiaca Nutt. - also published in Desc. Pinus

Captain Meriwether Lewis sent President Thomas Jefferson some slips of Osage Orange (then called Osage Apple) in March 1804 from St. Louis. Pierre Chouteau had introduced it to Lewis from an Osage Indian village west of St. Louis. The Indians used the wood to make bows and it was also known as Bow Wood. The plant was named for William Maclure, an early American geologist.


Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner