[nafex] Osage orange

Lucky Pittman Lucky.Pittman at murraystate.edu
Wed May 23 09:45:50 EDT 2001


At 09:00 PM 05/22/2001 -0400, Gianni wrote:
>Purrrty woods. Never thoughthow really beautiful any apple wood is really.
>  Is the purple a fluke like variageteds in citrus?
I suspect not a fluke, so much as indication of pigmented crab somewhere in 
its ancestry.  Several of the red-fleshed selections I have growing in my 
orchard(Winter Red Flesh, Almata, Scarlet Surprise) have red/purple-tinged 
foliage, red/pink blossoms, and red/purple pigmented wood.  I know Almata 
and WRF have a crab parent.

>No kidding, OO is considered noxious?
Around here it is, or at least by all my friends & acquaintances who are 
still farming.
Those thorns are hell on tractor & truck tires, and no one is going to 
depend on an OO hedge to keep cattle & horses contained - the legal 
profession would have a heyday with you if you let your livestock run free 
like that.  Gotta have a real fence.
Other than cutting poles for use as fence posts, they have minimal 
commercial value.

  On the other hand, is any of the fruit edible?
Not to my knowledge.  While I'm a N.A. Fruit Explorer, I'm not adventurous 
enough to try eating one of those big fibrous, latex-filled 
'brain'fruits.  I'll stick to its close relatives, the figs, mulberries and 
Che fruit.
We have  had discussions on Cudrania(Che fruit, Chinese Che, Mandarin melon 
berry, etc.) on the list in the past - you might check the archives, or 
maybe Hector Black or others will recap their experiences with it.

>Archery craftsman you say. Woo woo. Thanks!
>Had no idea the wood was prized for bows. Or posts. Or the remarkable 
>property of the wood. Or the beauty.
>Can't wait to get some stock to work with to see it, sounds quite beautiful.
I took a minute to do a Metacrawler (www.go2net.com) search on 'Osage 
orange' - quite a bit of info out there on the 'Net, including sites with 
instructions for building an OO bow, places where you can purchase OO 
staves & billets, etc. - one of them is, as one might expect, 
www.osageorange.com.
I've been a frustrated amateur flint-knapper from time to time, and have a 
few articles on bow-making & handling OO wood for that purpose, but it 
looks like most of that info is now readily available on the 'Net.

Additionally, I've seen folks take the fruits, slice them on a bandsaw, dry 
the slices and use them in a number of 'craft-y' applications.  They're 
quite unusual and handsome, when shellacked, etc.

Lucky Pittman
USDA Zone 6
Hopkinsville, KY 
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