Osage Orange Maclura pomifera (Rafinesque) SchneiderNon-native    Synonyms: Toxylon pomiferum.
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Tracheophyta   >   Class Magnoliopsida   >   Order Urticales   >   Family Moraceae   >   Genus Maclura   

Status:

Maryland is not considered to be within the natural range of Osage Orange. The tree is originally native to the Southwest. Widespread plantings of it throughout the United States, however, have led to its escape, and now it is relatively common in Maryland. In its natural range, it is found in bottom lands, but it will grow in many kinds of soil.

Description:

A medium-sized tree (in its natural range). The twigs are armed with sharp spines. The wood, which is one of the heaviest of our native timbers, is a bright orange color (Harlow, 1957). Crushed leaves exude a milky sap, as is typical of members of the Mulberry Family.

Relationships:

The large, heavy, fleshy fruits of Osage Orange have apparently had no effective dispersal agent since the extinction of ice age megafauna such as giant ground sloths, mastodons, and mammoths. The loss of these animals is thought to have restricted the plant's post-ice age natural range to Texas, Oklahoma, and adjacent areas of the southern plains, where it was driven by the last glaciers. Since then, humans have widely planted Osage Orange for hedges, fencerows, and windbreaks, and it has escaped from cultivation in Maryland and many other states. Squirrels and quail eat the seeds to a minor extent (J. Hill/MNPS).

There are 128 records in the project database.

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Osage Orange growing in Washington Co., Maryland (9/16/2017). Photo by Mark Johnson. (MBP list)

An Osage Orange trunk in Howard Co., Maryland (5/31/2014). Photo by Nancy Magnusson. (MBP list)

The leaves of Osage Orange in Charles Co., Maryland (9/17/2016). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

An Osage Orange fruit at Great Falls, Montgomery Co., Maryland (1/5/2013). Photo by Kerry Wixted. (MBP list)

An Osage Orange split in half in Kent Co., Maryland (4/15/2018). Photo by Matt Redman. (MBP list)

An Eastern Gray Squirrel grapples with an Osage Orange fruit in Howard Co., Maryland (1/11/2016). Photo by Bonnie Ott. (MBP list)

Osage Orange branch cut to show typical bright color of wood, in Frederick Co., Maryland (7/1/2020). Photo by Lynda Smith-Bugge. (MBP list)

Osage Orange foliage in Kent Co., Maryland (7/5/2016). Photo by Nancy Martin. (MBP list)

Osage Orange growing in Harford Co., Maryland (11/8/2019). Photo by Dave Webb. (MBP list)

Osage Orange in Montgomery Co., Maryland (12/22/2020). (c) ross_ny, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by ross_ny via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Osage Orange growing in Frederick Co., Maryland (2/16/2019). Photo by Mark Etheridge. (MBP list)

Osage Orange in Kent Co., Maryland (1/9/2021). (c) mattgrinnell, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by mattgrinnell via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

An Osage Orange fruit in St. Mary's Co., Maryland (12/31/2015). Photo by Tyler Bell. (MBP list)

Fallen Osage Orange fruit in Montgomery Co., Maryland (12/2/2017). Photo by Dave Webb. (MBP list)

Fallen Osage Orange fruit in Talbot Co., Maryland (10/28/2015). Photo by Colleen Brighton. (MBP list)

Osage Orange in Queen Anne's Co., Maryland (11/15/2020). (c) flube, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by flube via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

A student with a nice collection of Osage Orange fruit at Jemicy School in Baltimore Co., Maryland (9/2011). Photo by Emily Stanley. (MBP list)

Osage Orange in Baltimore City, Maryland (11/8/2020). (c) sharpnature, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by sharpnature via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Osage Orange in Talbot Co., Maryland (10/15/2020). (c) Wayne Longbottom, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Osage Orange in Caroline Co., Maryland (10/14/2020). (c) Wayne Longbottom, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Wayne Longbottom. (MBP list)

Osage Orange in Montgomery Co., Maryland (11/26/2020). (c) dodster77, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by dodster77 via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Osage Orange in Prince George's Co., Maryland (11/29/2020). (c) Sergei Drovetski, all rights reserved. Photo by Sergei Drovetski. (MBP list)

Osage Orange in Frederick Co., Maryland (7/28/2018). Photo by Sue Muller. (MBP list)


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