Random Plant: Osage orange

Osage orange (Maclura pomifera, Moraceae) photographed 10/19/2010 near Clayton Michigan.

Osage oranges (Maclura pomifera, Moraceae) are interesting trees, mostly because of their large fruit.  Although native to Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, they have been introduced over much of the United States and southern Ontario.

Osage orange (Maclura pomifera, Moraceae) photographed 10/19/2010 near Clayton Michigan.

The fruit are roughly the size of an orange, and can bear a citrus scent.  The similarities to oranges stop there.  This plant is in the mulberry family (Moraceae) while oranges are in the citrus family (Rutaceae).

Osage orange (Maclura pomifera, Moraceae) photographed 10/19/2010 near Clayton Michigan.

These are multiple fruits much like pineapples, figs, and mulberries.  Flowers grow in a dense cluster and each flower upon pollination forms its own little fruit.  The density of these fruits lead them to form one solid mass like the one seen above.  Although this fruit is generally unpalatable to humans, it may have been attractive to Pleistocene megafauna that could have aided in seed dispersal.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Random Plant and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Random Plant: Osage orange

  1. Linda says:

    The seeds are edible… “pick them out of the pulpy matrix and remove the slimy husk.” http://www.gpnc.org/osage.htm 🙂

    Like

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