There is understandable confusion about Maclura pomifera because it has both the common name Osage Orange, and within that a specific cultivar Osage Orange!. Be careful about your sources. Here is a list of specimens cataloged by NCGR:
I appreciate the effort you’re putting into these lists.
To what end are people developing cultivars of Osage Orange? Last I checked, it wasn’t edible, at least not if you aren’t desperate.
I suspect that most of those are thornless(or mostly-so) male selections.
Guy Sternberg, at Starhill Forest Arboretum has several named selections - thornless males… and one, ‘Cannonball’, a fruiting selection that produces much larger fruits than the norm. If you browse through some of their photo galleries, there are photos of some of the M.pomifera selections they’re growing - along with many oaks and other interesting species.
Starhill Forest Arboretum
To their defense - with the exception of the thorns, they make a very nice ‘shade tree’ - fast growth, good form, virtually no pests/diseases… and the males are fruitless. The wood is exceptionally hard and rot-resistant - makes great fence posts, firewood, and is unrivaled as a wood for fashioning archery bows.
No idea. I did want folks to be aware that what most sellers call “Osage Orange” are seedlings and not the cultivar registered as DMOR 111.
I have viewed a few of these in person and would disagree. But since I personally do not have any stock of this plant you’d need to check with the repositories to confirm.
I suppose just about all cultivated plants started out inedible. Hedge is very common around here. The fruits are totally inedible, except for squirrels and cattle. Maybe someone will eventually do enough breeding to make the “apples” edible.
Hedge is very prolific around here, and like honey locust, produces lots of thorns which pop tires. I’ve probably sprayed over 2000 seedlings in the last few years to get rid of them.
Interesting if they are cataloging thornless varieties. As Lucky points out, hedge makes excellent firewood and it exceptionally hard and rot resistant. I’ve seen sparks occasionally when I cut it w/ a chain saw.
I recognize ‘Whiteshield’ as a thornless male selection… suspect that the Kansas trees are, as well.
Osage Orange, Kentucky Coffeetree… two species present in my locality…and others, elsewhere…that likely were originally dependent upon large, now-extinct mammal species, like mammoths/mastodons and giant ground sloths for distribution of seeds. Fun read, below, if you’re inclined.
Trees that miss the mammoths
I enjoyed that article Lucky. The squirrels do eat Osage orange here.
Yes. My wife used to put a basket of hedge apples on our front deck every fall. Squirrels would eventually find the hedge balls and eat them (shredding them in the process).
Cattle also eat them. My son and I have tossed them to cattle. If balls aren’t too big, the cattle seem to swallow them whole. Then they “poop” the seeds everywhere. That’s why we had so many hedge seedlings on our property.
I’ve seen cattle eat partially bletted(softened/rotted) OO fruits… but I’ve also seen cattle that had not yet quite soft-enough fruits lodge in their esophagus, resulting in bloating (due to inability to eructate(burp) off fermentation gases) and death.
I don’t doubt you’ve seen all that as a veterinarian. I’m surprised more cattle don’t die from choking on hedge apples.
When my son and I tossed cattle hard hedge balls and they gobbled those up like a kid w/ peppermint candies, but they regularly cleaned up all they could get to on their own (from lots of female hedge trees) so we weren’t doing the cattle a disservice. None of those cattle died from hedge apple choking.
Agree - I’ve seen cattle, on a friend’s farm , and here, eat OO fruits with no issue.
But it’s a known fact that they will sometimes choke on them - they teach us about it in veterinary school - and I’ve seen a couple of cases of ‘hedgeapple choke’ that resulted in death.