Scientific NameMaclura pomifera
Other Common Names:
bois d' arc
Synonyms (former Scientific Names):
d. Leaves are deciduous, simple, and alternate or are in clusters at the end of short spurs. Their shape ranges from broad-ovate to ovate-lanceolate, rounded to subcordate at the base broadly cuneate or acuminate at the apex. Leaves are 2 to 5 inches (in.) long and 0.75 to 2.5 in. wide and have entire margins. Leaf blades are dark green, smooth and waxy above; paler green with a few hairs beneath. The color turns translucent yellow in the fall.
Osage orange belongs to the Moraceae, or mulberry family. The name Maclura pomifera comes from William Maclure (1763 " 1840) an early American geologist; and pomifera which means fruit-bearing for the large fruits that it produces on the female trees. It is a small to medium size tree 36 to 65 feet tall, with deeply furrowed bark and thorny branches. The trunk is usually short and divides into several prominent limbs with upward arching branches. The root system is diffuse and covers large areas with its lateral spread.
Flower Seed Head
Osage orange trees are dioecious and wind pollinated with flowers appearing in mid-May to June, after leaves. Staminate (male) flowers are globular or in short cylindrical clusters, green, hairy, with 4 stamens and large yellow anthers, but no petals. Pistillate (female) flowers are in dense, globular clusters, 0.75 to 1.0 in. diameter at the base of a leaf.
The fruit or Hedge ball is produced in September and is a multiple fruit consisting of many 1-seeded druplets fused into a globose, yellow-green structure approximately 3 to 5 in. in diameter. Female trees may start to bear fruit at about 10 years old. The individual oval shaped seeds are imbedded in the fleshy calyx and are 0.3 to 0.5 in. long. Seeds are initially cream colored, but will turn brown with age and exposure to air
woody bush or tree
Thorns or Spines
Dominant Flower Color
shorter than leaf
Stem Cross Section
round or oval