Osage Orange Tree Definition
Osage-orange foliage and fruit
The Osage orange (sometimes hyphenated) or Osage apple or simply Osage (Maclura pomifera) is an ornamental plant in the mulberry family Moraceae. It is also locally known as mock orange, "wild orange", hedge-apple, horse-apple, hedge ball, bois d'arc, bodark (mainly in Oklahoma and Texas), bodart (in northwest Louisiana) and bow wood. "Osage" derives from the Native American people inhabiting the valley of the river of the same name in Missouri. Slang terms for its inedible fruit include monkey brain, monkey ball, monkey orange, and brain fruit, due to its brain-like appearance.
The species is dioeceous, with male and female flowers on different plants. It is a small deciduous tree or large shrub, typically growing to 8-15 m tall. The fruit, a multiple fruit, is roughly spherical, but bumpy, and 7-15 cm in diameter, and it is filled with a sticky white latex sap. In fall, its color turns a bright yellow-green and it has a faint odor similar to that of oranges.
Maclura is closely related to the genus Cudrania, and hybrids between the two genera have been produced. In fact, some botanists recognize a more broadly defined Maclura that includes species previously included in Cudrania and other genera of Moraceae.
Recent research suggests that elemol, one of the major components of oil extracted from fruit of Osage orange, shows promise as a mosquito repellent with similar activity to DEET in contact and residual repellency.