[nafex] Osage orange

Lucky Pittman Lucky.Pittman at murraystate.edu
Tue May 22 13:33:46 EDT 2001


Gianni wrote:
>Never knew these(Osage orange) were ever considered for wood because of 
>the beauty of the wood.

OO wood is quite pretty, with a distinctive yellow-orange pigment 
present.  Wasn't it Don Y. who talked about the 'evil yellow roots' of 
mulberry - a close relative?  I can always  pick out an OO in a big dozer 
pile, because of its orange roots

Here in western KY & middle TN, Osage Orange(aka bois d'arc, bodock, mock 
orange) is largely looked at (at least by farmers/ranchers) as a noxious 
weed tree, to be cut & poisoned or ripped out by the roots, due to its 
propensity for puncturing tractor tires.
I have seen an occasional cow choked to death while attempting to swallow 
incompletely bletted & masticated OO fruits.

They do make exceptional fenceposts, as they are very dense and contain a 
natural fungicide; OO fenceposts may stay in the family for several 
generations, but you almost have to drill pilot holes in an old one to be 
able to drive in fencing staples.
It's French common name, "bois d'arc" is testament to its use by the native 
Americans as the wood of choice for fashioning bows.  Even modern-day 
craftsmen who make hand-made longbows treasure good OO wood, but they often 
have to search long and hard to find the appropriate straight stems of the 
proper length.

I've got only a couple of them growing on the farm here, small seedlings 
which have been bush-hogged on a yearly basis, but I may let them grow for 
a year or two and try my hand at topworking them to Cudrania(Chinese Che, 
Mandarin melon berry).

Lucky Pittman
USDA Zone 6
Hopkinsville, KY 
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