Know Your Trees: Osage

This week for Know Your Trees, GM is going to highlight a tree people start to notice this time of year. They notice and wonder about this tree so much that GM publishes the same article every year explaining them and it’s always one of his most read articles of the year. So this year he’ll fold it into his new tree series.

Have you ever seen the weird green brain-like fruit and wondered what it is? They are Osage oranges, grown by Osage trees.

You don’t find Osage trees randomly around Georgetown. They are only in Volta Park and Montrose Park. Even without the dozens of large fruits on the ground, you can recognize an Osage by the bark. It has a yellowish and chunky texture like this:

These trees are prevalent in the Great Plains states, where they are often planted along hedgerows. Traditionally, the pliable but strong nature of this tree’s wood made it valuable for fence posts and archery bows.

Technically speaking, the fruit is edible. But you can only eat the seeds, and they’re not easy to extract.

GM heard once that people should not feel guilty about taking the fruit home since no animals eat them. GM finds that they rot after a month or so.

It’s not clear why exactly Montrose and Volta Parks have these trees. Perhaps a neighborhood arborist just liked them? Either way, just be careful around them this time of year. You don’t want one falling and knocking you on the head!



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2 responses to “Know Your Trees: Osage

  1. As kids in eastern Ohio, we called them monkey balls and played extremely painful “war games” with these as ammo!

  2. Osage oranges can be used as spider deterrents both inside and outside the home.

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