[nafex] Osage orange

Gianni GIANNI-2 at prodigy.net
Wed May 23 17:10:09 EDT 2001

Hi Lucky:

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.

  I wonder if malus has the short life span of peach. From what I've seen from apples vs: peach this would not ring true
  and give you a double bonus of not only bearing fruit/apples but allowing for harvesting of some extraordinary wood
  when the apple has outlived it's usefulness. Would take what, something in the neighborhood of 20+ yrs to get a butt
  (main trunk) over a foot in diameter? There is a golden delicious that took a nose dive just off my property as this was
  a farm here guesstimating here around over 20 yrs ago. I think I'll go have a look at that wood. I know it wont be the
  beautiful red or purple trace like yours lucky but I want to see the grain pattern and knurls or twists after I mill and dress
  some of the wood. I like wood turning and maybe apple earrings, pendant for x-mas....

    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.

  I have yet to have any problem other than giving to the blood bank when in close proximity as I maintain the planting site
  with a hand mower and hard rubber wheels. I don't get it. Do the thorns grow up through the ground. I have never seen this as
  these are only yearlings now and haven't undermined their perimeter.

   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.

  The wood and sheer deterrent is enough for me. As I intend to row these and form an impenetrable barrier for the deer.
  With fence unless electric, the deer usually find a way to compromise fence leaping with a running start over 7 to 8 foot fence
  with very little effort and the last thing I want is to have to destroy a deer, due to it's misfortune of getting trapped within.
  There are no livestock on my property or abutters livestock to contend with the OO being swallowed and the land in question is private and duly posted so.... I can imagine in years to come the thorns being a very effective deterrent and a real wake up call
  to any deer that happens along and sure not to forget that locale in his foraging.

    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.

  Thanks for the leads Lucky, I will go check this as I love to work with wood and to find a new use for something I
  am growing is an even further bonus.
  Flint-knapper? Your an old flintlock gun enthusiast? I do own a few bows and do love archery for the sport and would
  like very much to fashion one of my own from OO, especially if I know I can get my hands on a drawstring that will fit
  and oversized bow, now thanks to you.... I wonder if the Indians used OO, way back? Would make sense.

  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.

  From reading your other posts on the cudrania the OO would be the rootstock of choice but I'm wondering if a poncirus
  (Dragon-monstrosa) would fare better, having a true citrus strain, perhaps?
  I think I'll do some digging on this genus and see what bears out.
  Thanks very much, Lucky and to all who endeavored on the Osage Orange and Cudrania.
  Best of growing,

  Lucky Pittman
  USDA Zone 6
  Hopkinsville, KY 

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