Found this in the yard. Probably the neighbor’s. Anyone know what it is and what it’s used for?

Exploring the Unique Hedge Apple

Hedge apples, scientifically known as Maclura pomifera, are distinctive fruits native to North America. Often called Osage oranges, these remarkable fruits resemble softballs with their bumpy, bright green exteriors.

Characteristics of Hedge Apples

Size and Appearance: Hedge apples are easily recognizable by their unusual size, similar to that of a softball. Their bright green, bumpy exteriors make them stand out in nature.

Inedibility: Despite their inviting look, hedge apples are not typically consumed by humans due to their bitter taste and tough, fibrous texture. However, they serve various other purposes.

Natural Habitat

Hedge apples thrive in the central United States, where the Maclura pomifera tree is native. Their range includes states like Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. These fruits are found in woodlands, prairies, and along riverbanks. While their use in landscaping and windbreaks has spread them to other regions, they remain most prevalent in their native central U.S.

Versatile Uses of Hedge Apples

Natural Pest Repellent:
Hedge apples are known for their potential as a natural pest repellent. People place them in basements, garages, and other areas to deter insects. Compounds like 1,4-dichlorobenzene in hedge apples are believed to repel spiders, ants, and other pests. However, scientific evidence supporting this is limited, and effectiveness may vary.

Decorative Purposes:
Their unique appearance makes hedge apples popular in decorative arrangements, especially during the fall. They add a captivating touch to centerpieces, wreaths, and other seasonal décor. Crafters and decorators often use them in creative projects for a natural, eccentric flair.

Folk Medicine and Traditional Remedies:
In some folk medicine practices, parts of the Maclura pomifera tree, including leaves, bark, and roots, have been used to treat various ailments. These remedies claim anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. However, these practices lack scientific validation, and their safety and efficacy remain uncertain.

Crafting and DIY Projects:
Hedge apples are popular in various crafting and DIY projects. Their unique texture and appearance make them ideal for creative endeavors.

Wildlife Attraction:
Hedge apples can attract wildlife such as squirrels and deer, which may consume the fruit when other food sources are scarce. Placing hedge apples in your yard can provide opportunities to observe these creatures up close.


Hedge apples offer a range of practical uses, from natural pest repellents to decorative pieces and wildlife attractants. Understanding their characteristics and versatility can help you make the most of these unique fruits.

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