Moraceae, Mulberry Family
Location: Walk from Huffman
Recognition Features: Alternate leaves; large, spherical, bumpy fruit; bark is deeply furrowed and scaly. Fruit is large and green. Branches thorny
Historical Notes: Osage-orange or hedge-apple was once planted along fence-rows as a field hedge. It is a many-branched tree with thorns. These thorns have kept out unwanted pests, and actually led to the invention of barbed wire. The hedgerows were also used as windbreaks and for soil erosion control. The heartwood is the most decay-resistant of all North American trees, and it is resistant to termites. The branches were used by the Osage Indians to make bows. Some archers still prefer to use its wood for their bows today. Settlers made yellow dye from the root bark (Peattie 1964). Chemical extracts from the tree and its fruits are use to make antifungal agents and a non-toxic antibiotic used in food preserves. The leaves also produce a white latex when damaged (Burns and Honkala 1990).