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Maclura pomifera (Raf.) C.K. Schneid.
Osage orange, Bois d' arc, Bodark, Horse apple, Hedge apple
Moraceae (Mulberry Family)
Synonym(s): Ioxylon pomiferum, Toxylon pomiferum
USDA Symbol: mapo
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (I)
Medium-sized, thorny tree with short, often crooked trunk; broad, rounded or irregular crown of spreading branches; single, straight, stout thorns at base of some leaves; and milky sap. A durable tree, once planted in hedgerows; furnished bow wood for the Osage Indians. Bark yellowish brown, furrowed. Small branches with thorns up to 1 inch long. Leaves, including petiole, up to 9 inches long, shiny, ovate to narrower with a smooth margin. Flowers inconspicuous. Fruit conspicuous, green, the size and shape of an orange or grapefruit and containing a milky sap, inedible. Male and female flowers on separate trees, so fruits not on all trees.
Rows of these thorny plants served as fences in the grassland plains before the introduction of barbed wire. The name Bodark is from the French bois d arc, meaning bow wood, referring to Native Americans use of the wood for archery bows. It is also used for fenceposts. Early settlers extracted a yellow dye for cloth from the root bark. The fruit is eaten by livestock, which has given rise to yet another common name, Horse-apple.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Tree Leaf Retention: Evergreen Leaf Complexity: Simple Leaf Texture:
Smooth Breeding System:
, Dioecious Size Notes:
Yellow Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
, WV Native Distribution:
The original native
range uncertain, but usually thought to be limited to the Red River drainage in sw. Arkansas, se. Oklahoma, and ne. Texas, possibly extending down the Blackland Prairies into central Texas; widely planted and naturalized in the eastern and northwestern states. Native Habitat:
Prairie, Plains, Meadows, Pastures, Savannahs, Woodlands edge, Opening, Fence rows, Ditches, Ravines, Depressions
Growing ConditionsWater Use:
Medium Light Requirement:
Sun Soil Moisture:
Dry CaCO3 Tolerance:
High Heat Tolerant:
Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay Conditions Comments:
Medium-sized, spiny tree
with short, often crooked trunk; broad, rounded or irregular crown of spreading branches; single, straight, stout spines at base of some leaves; and milky sap.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Hedges, Attractive, Fruits ornamental, Fall conspicuous
Use Wildlife: Nesting site, Cover, Fruit-mammals
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Suppliers Directory
According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:
Toadshade Wildflower Farm
- Frenchtown, NJHill Country Natives
- Leander, TX
Record Last Modified: 2014-01-09
Research By: TWC Staff