Osage-orange "Hedgeapple" Hedgeball Fruit, Ohio

On a late autumn morning, a "hedgeball" lay on the ground beneath its parent tree.

This tree is known locally here in southwest Ohio as a hedgeapple, often shortened to simply 'hedge'. Long ago in forestry school I learned it as the Osage-orange. Note the hyphen in the name: it means that the second word means 'false' In other words, not a true orange, as if there was any doubt.

The fruit of the hedgeapple tree is lime green in color, heavy, round, large (about the size of a softball) with an almost brain-like pattern. In Ohio, you see them everywhere. The fruits drop onto streets and road from overhanging branches and get smashed by the tires of passing cars.

In this photo, I was captivated by the light green pattern of the hedgeapple fruit against the lush green grass and forb leaves around which it had fallen, whump, from the branch above. No doubt it will attract its fair share of wildlife attention as the autumn and early winter wear on.

Lately, (due to the wonders of the Web and search engines like Google and Yahoo) I was surprised to receive email about this inedible (to humans) fruit. As it turns out, some grocery stores are selling them as home insect repellants. Yes. In the Produce section. Hmm. I did some Web searching of my own, but the results are inconclusive. In other words: maybe, but probably maybe not.

I write this here in hopes of warding off further inquiries, as I am not expert on hedgeballs as insect repellants. I'm just a photographer with a lust for nature that adds some of my best images to my website. As to what the search engines do with it, I have no control over.

Photo location: Montgomery County, near Brookville, Ohio.

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Hedgeball - hedgeapple fruit of osage-orange tree

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