Portrait of a Tree – Osange Orange

In my ongoing quest to find decent hiking here on the Eastern Shore, I visited a state wildlife sanctuary called Wye Island.   Comprised primarily of pastures, fields, and woods I arrived on the first day of shotgun deer hunting at the sanctuary.    That pretty much ruled out hiking!!

I was able to take one short hike along a path that lead to the Wye River area.   All around and over me were these tree/shrubs that I came to learn are called Osage Orange Trees.

Wye River 007


With a little research I learned that the wood of these trees is extremely hard and used in things like tool handles.    As I suspected, although they are called “orange” trees they are not in the citrus family at all, but the same family as the mulberry.   The path was strewn with the “fruits” from these trees which were sticky to the touch and when opened yielded a very sticky, white milky substance.   They are not edible (thanks to wikapedia I didn’t have to try).    The fruits were about the size of softballs.

Wye River 019 

Wye River 018


Although not native to this area, the Osage Orange was brought to this area to be used as hedgerows and to create perimeters around livestock fields.   The thorny branches discouraged escape.


Posted on December 6, 2012, in Hikes, Portraits of Trees and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I saw one of those oranges once—gruesome to behold, especially since I couldn’t eat it. I have absolutely fallen for the path photo—I’m not sure about your sense of ownership, but I would love to write a post with it. There is just something about it—like life, I suppose.

  2. I just passed a whole row of these trees on the way to East Berlin today. The fruit was lying in big piles by the side of the road. Now I know what they are really called. I always just called them “hedge apple trees”

  3. Speaking of orange… sounds like you need to get yourself one of those stylish (but relatively safe) bright orange hunter vests! Love the hedgerow tunnel… nicely done.

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