Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) organically grown flower seeds. Floral Encounters.
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Item # Packet size Nett Weight Number Seeds(approx) Price Qty
Small 0.72 g 20 Seeds $4.00

Please note: all seeds are sold by weight and seed count is approximate.

To keep seed prices low much of our seed is semi cleaned. More Info


Unusual tree with weird looking fruits. The osage orange is not an orange, its related to the mulberry. The large fruits up to 5 inches (13cm) across have many names like hedge apple or monkey brain but I think look more like caulflowers. They do have a slight citrus odor but are not edible. Grows into a medium sized tree around 40 feet (12m) with lots of thorns. Makes a perfect hedge because nothing large can get through it. It was once used to contain cattle and help with soil erosion in the plains states but barbed wire came along and reduced its use. Most home owners dont want barbed wire around their property but an osage orange hedge would do just as well. Seeds do need some stratification before they germinate but its fairly simple in comparison to most other trees. Easy to grow a good number of trees to form a hedge which also helps birds as they love to nest in the protective branches. There are male and female trees so you need both to get fruits. Trees can live a long time so a hedge lasts just as long.

Description of Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera).
Medium sized up to 40 feet (12m). Long lived tree most commonly with a single trunk but older trees can develop multiple ones. All branches and sometimes even the trunk are covered with thick sharp thorns up to 1/2 inch (1.3cm) long. leaves are arranged alternately on smaller young stems but also arise in small groups from leaf nodes of stouter branches. Leaves are long stemmed broadly spear shaped with wide center tapering to a narrow sharp point 2-6 inches (5-15cm) long and 2-3 inches (5-7.6cm) wide. They are Dark green with smooth margins and pronounced lighted colored veins on the underside often with some hairs along the major veins. Trees are dioecious meaning there are male and female trees not both sets of flowers on one tree. So you need to have both sexes of trees to get fruit. The flowers of both sexes are small, almost insignificant. They are tiny green and petaless clustered in small balls less than 1 inch (2.5cm) across. The fruits that grow from the female flowers are huge by comparison. These are mostly globular but with protruding asymmetrical lumps, 4-5 inches (10-12cm) across and yellowish green. The surface is deeply grooved, in erratic shapes like crazy paving. It is often compared to a brain and a common name is monkey brain but in fact looks nothing like brain and far more resembles a tightly packed broccoli flower. The flesh is dense with a white to light green 'core' surrounded by outward pointing seeds embedded in the other flesh, also dense but less so than the core yellow green in color with light outward radiation striations. When cut the fruit exudes a sticky white liquid that can be irritating to the skin causing a rash. It does have a slightly fruity citrus aroma - hence the name but is mostly inedible.
The bark is brown to light orange and only slightly grooved on young trees but older trees develop a much more erratic deeply grooved exterior that still shows something of the original orange color. the wood is a warm orange yellow color, very dense and heavy. It is mostly rot free making it desirable as fence posts. Trees tend to grow multiple trunks that are slightly curved or bent rather than straight.

Growing Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) from Seed.
Seeds need a period of moist stratification before they will germinate, however its a much shorter time period than many other trees requiring only about 30 days. Soak seeds in warm but not hot water for about 24 hours first. They allows the seeds to take in water and swell reducing the amount of water needed when stratifying the seeds. After that they need a period of cold in moist substrate. This can be achieved using several different methods, please see our Stratification Instructions for more details then you can choose the best method for your needs.

In some cases the seeds will begin to sprout while still under stratification so having them planted in substrate first is suggested as moving sprouting seedlings without disturbing the proto root can be difficult. If this is damaged the seedling will not grow.
Plant seeds about 3/8" (1cm) deep.

Once stratification is over place seeds in a cool area do not allow temperatures to go above 75 F (25C) or a second dormancy may be triggered and seeds will not germinate. So keep them in cool area with good but not really bright sunshine until germination occurs. When stratification is followed seeds usually germinate within 40-60 days after being removed from cold. Allow seedlings to grow on until they have at least one set of true leaves (not the first two leaves the next set), more if the pot is large enough then carefully transplant to larger deep pot to allow roots to develop well. While you can purchase tree pots cardboard milk or juice cartons work equally as well and make a good recycling use, just ensure you punch a few holes in the bottom for drainage before you plant.

Seedlings are slow to grow, expect to nurture you seedlings for a year, maybe more before they are large enough to be planted outside. Ensure overwintering tree seedlings are kept from freezing. Frozen pots can easily kill a small tree. A garage attached to a home is usually warm enough to sustain them over the winter months. If you have a garage window a flat surface before it will be ideal.

Location and Care of Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera).
Plant seedling trees outside only after they reach about 6-8 inches (15-20cm) in height and then ensure they are well protected from wildlife attack. Rodents, deer and other creatures will eat small trees as do lawn mowers if the seedlings are not marked and protected well enough.

Full sun is the best choice for these trees but they can tolerate a small amount of shade. They are not really fussy about soil type provided it is well drained. Ensure that seedlings have been well hardened off (become used to full sun) before planting or they can become sun scold and this will dramatically inhibit growth.
Water regularly for the first year to ensure that the tiny tree gets the care it needs. Trees usually take at least a year to acclimatize to their new location and get established before they begin to grow strongly. So don't expect too much growth until the second year, Then if the tree is happy in its location is should begin to grow rapidly.

Trees can be planted in isolation as a specimen tree or in rows about 6 feet (1.8m) apart if a hedge is to be created. Remember that several trees will need to be planted if fruits are required as both male and female plants are needed to produce these fruits. Sadly there is no way to determine which is male or female until the flower. For hedge production more males are desirable as it means less fruit clean up.

If planting for a hedge trees will need to be pruned down once they reach about 6 feet (1.8m) to encourage lateral growth and a more bush like habit. Once the plants have thickened to form a hedge they can be left to grow taller until the desired height is reached. Regular pruning and trimming may be needed to control trees planted as a hedge. However the effort is worth it. Nothing gets through a Osage orange hedge except a chain saw.

Pollinator and Wildlife with Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera).
Bees pollinate the flowers. Being closely related to the mulberry the leaves are also a food source for some of our largest moths in the silk moth group. Many birds build their nests in the branches of the trees as the thorns give them good protection from predators. Smaller animals also hide in hedges created from the trees for the same reason. This tree is excellent in helping to restore wildlife populations by offering such protection. For the most part the fruits are not eaten and extracting the seeds takes a lot of energy and is not worth the effort for most species.

Culinary Uses of Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera).
There is much debate over if the Osage orange is indeed edible. For the most part the answer seems to be no. While it is possible to consume it the flavor is bitter and it produces a unpleasant latex like liquid that many find irritate the skin, including inside the mouth. So while its possible perhaps only during times of starvation and then only if you don't throw the whole thing up after eating which seems to be a common effect.
The seeds themselves are edible and can be roasted. However they take a long time to extract from the fruits so its really not worth the bother.

Medical uses of Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera).
There are some reports that a tea made from the roots can be used as an eye wash. The fruits appear to contain anti fungal and antioxidant compounds and a dilute water solution may be used to treat cardiovascular issues. So far little research has been done on this plant and most comments appear unsubstantiated. It needs a lot more to determine its potential.

Other uses of Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera).
The wood of the Osage orange is dense but pliable and rot resistant. So its first simple use is as fence posts as they can last a very long time without disintegration. Most commonly branches are used in their raw state to create posts as the trees rarely grow large enough to be machined into straight posts. This is very useful on organic farms where regulations restrict what materials can be used as fence posts.
The dense wood being also pliable has been used since ancient times to make bows. Those made from this wood are considered far superior to any other wood and command a very high price even today. Of course arrows are also fashioned from the wood but it is also used for other small tools as handles, horse collars, parts for saw and grain mills as well as musical instruments. The pliability also made in very desirable for manufacture of wagon wheels.
The wood is a beautiful honey gold color and is much prized by woodworkers for creating all kinds of wooden items and artworks.
The only downside is that the trees don't grow very large and rarely if ever straight so only small pieces of the wood are available for use.
However the wood being so dense is also an excellent fuel source. When dried correctly it can produce long lasting high heat so is desirable in forges and kilns. It is important to dry the wood correctly if not that the heat can become erratic and has been known to produce sparks that can crack chimneys and blow up cast iron stoves.

Osage orange trees yield several dyes, a yellow from the bark root and wood. Green from the fruits.
There are some reports of an insecticide that is effective against cockroaches being made from the fruits.

Interestiong facts of Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera).
This tree has sparked much discussion. Why does it produce such large fruits when nothing eats them, most wildlife wont touch them and its so hard to get the seeds out that even small rodents shun them. The favored theory which now appears to be gaining some evidence from the fossil record is that the tree evolved to be eaten by mammoths. these creatures roamed in large numbers across the United States long ago and perhaps had a liking for the fruits, eat them and thus disperse the seeds. Unfortunately for the Osage orange man arrived and wiped out all the mammoths and possibly giant sloths too, so the poor tree was left in a evolution backwater without a method to disperse its seeds.

Other names.
Bois d'arc, Bow Wood, Hedge Apple, Hedgeapple, Horse Apple, Maclura, Bodark Tree Fruit, Maclura Pomifera, Mock Orange, Monkey Ball, Monkey Brain, Osage Orange

Item # Packet size Nett Weight Number Seeds(approx) Price Qty
Small 0.72 g 20 Seeds $4.00

Please note: all seeds are sold by weight and seed count is approximate.

To keep seed prices low much of our seed is semi cleaned. More Info