Way off topic - Hedge apples are ripe

Steve Marak samarak@gizmoworks.com
Fri, 17 Oct 2008 10:10:17 PDT
I'll add to the off topicality, as I like this odd member of the mulberry 
family - making me a minority here in NW Arkansas, especially among the 
farming community. Native here, but widely distributed - USDA shows it in 
all but a handful of the "lower 48" US states - it was once intentionally 
planted, but is now considered by most a weed tree. Older trees are 
recognizable by their form as far as you can see them. 

My grandfather, a blacksmith, told me that the wood - "tough as hickory, 
strong as oak" - was preferred for wagon wheels and any other application 
requiring great strength with resistance to flexing. The freshly cut wood 
is quite yellow (as with mulberries I've seen) but ages to a yellow-brown.

I have read many times that the fruits, sliced, may be used to deter both 
rodents and insects. I've tried slicing them in several ways, and for me 
the safest is either an electric carving knife or saw whose blade can be 
discarded afterward. Since I've always wound up discarding the slices soon 
afterwards, too, I have no idea if it actually works.


On Thu, 16 Oct 2008, James Waddick wrote:

> Dear Friends,
> 	Gardeners on both coasts may not be aware of our mid-western 
> 'Hedge Apples' (Maclura pomifera).
> 	but essentially useless.  These fruit litter sidewalks and 
> road sides. They are very dense, solid and difficult to cut. They 
> ooze a sticky latex like sap and can literally cause damage to 
> vehicles parked under them.
> 	The wood is strong, dense and very useful particularly for 
> fence posts and at one time bows (thus the Bois d'arc name) . The 
> trees are densely branched and bear many evil sharp thorns, but are 
> impervious to most insects and disease. Thus modern cultivars have 
> been developed as street trees from thornless, fruitless strains.

-- Steve Marak
-- samarak@gizmoworks.com

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