Interesting Trees – Osage Orange

By Dave Chanslor

Harold Jones gave me a piece of Osage Orange to turn the other day so I made a natural edge bias-turned bowl pictured below. Osage orange is also called by other names such as Bodark (Bois d'Arc in french ) and Hedge-apple. The sapwood is very yellow with darker heartwood. It turns very easily and sands to a smooth finish. The bark is brownish orange with the inner bark very orange.
With the help of Goggle I did a little research on the tree and found some interesting facts in a few Internet sites dedicated to the tree. A place in Texas has a "Bois d'Arc Bash" every year dedicated to the tree. So what’s so special about this celebrated tree?
Well, back before barbed wire was invented or at least widely available, pens for cattle and hogs were a problem to build and maintain. The Osage Orange tree makes an ideal hedge because it grows thick and has a lot of thorns so the early pioneers used them for hedge rows. That makes for cheap fences to pen up livestock. It makes a good security fence too!

Long before that the indians, who weren’t into fences, found that the osage orange tree limbs make an excellent hunting bow. The French learned of the tree from the Osage Indians along the Ouachita River in Arkansas and called it the Bois d’Arc. The tree looks like an orange tree (sorta) and the fruit is about the size of an orange as shown in the photo, thus the name as we know it.

The tree is native to Arkansas and maybe Texas and Oklahoma. It now grows all over the US except where the climate prevents it. It grows in various areas of the state of Alabama.

If you want to know more about this tree ask Goggle or go to the web site where there is plenty of information and links to other sites.