Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hedge Rows and Horse Apples

Bois D'Arc Tree with Fallen Fruit Below on the Right

On a recent visit to Dallas I learned about something new. My friend, Susan, introduced me to the Bois D' Arc or Osage-orange tree. Seems this tree is native to the Red River drainage areas of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. It is also widely grown in many parts of the US. Originally these trees were planted to create a hedge row or wind break.

Yellow-green Fruit of the Bois D'Arc Tree

It's the fruit that made me take an interest. The Bois D'Arc tree produces the most interesting lime green spherical fruit in the fall. Susan calls them horse apples, though horses don't eat these. They are basically an inedible fruit. Once these balls of green ripen, they fall to the ground. If you look closely in the first photo you can see some lying just to the right under the tree.

Clusters of Fruit on a Bois D'Arc Tree

Susan and I gathered up a sack of the ripened fruit with the thought that it would make a colorful fall display in our homes. I was surprised at how heavy these balls of green were. Most of the balls I picked up were the size of a large grapefruit and weighed over 1.5 pounds each. You can imagine how heavy a bowl full is.

More Horse Apples Ready to Fall

The fruit of this tree is filled with a sticky sap, so they feel a bit sticky to the touch. Unlike a smooth grapefruit, the horse apples are bumpy. They are covered with clusters of rounded bumps which make them rather distinctive.

Wooden Container of Horse Apples and Ceramic Acorns

I first lined this wooden box with wax paper because of the stickiness of this fruit. Then I piled them in on one another and added some ceramic acorns that I found at Tuesday Morning for $1 a piece.

Close Up View of a Horse Apple

You can see the distinctive covering of this fruit in this close-up view. It almost looks like clusters of kernels of corn on a cob.

New Fall Decor For Our Sun Porch

I'm thrilled to have discovered this new organic decor. I think the punch of lime green is perfect with the rich earth tones of the fall season. Thank you, Susan, for introducing me to the funny fruit of the Bois D'Arc tree.

Click here to read more about the Bois D'Arc tree and horse apples.

Hope you enjoyed my contribution to Outdoor Wednesday this week. Please leave a comment to let me know you stopped by today. Then join Susan @ A Southern Daydreamer to see more photos of the great outdoors.


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. I love em... I did a post about them two or three post ago... so swavvey...and a natural element anywhere in the home....

  2. I know I'm kind of weird, but you know what? That design of those green horse apples remind me of brains...the way the squigglies are...kind of alien looking, but very decorative. I like them in that wooden bowl with the acorns...a nice contrast!

    Have a good Veteran's Day tomorrow!

  3. Hi Sarah,
    Fascinating post! As I read it, I found myself thinking "How 'bout THEM apples!"

    You've displayed them beautifully. As you said, they're organic looking and provide a great color accent. Nicely done!

    Warmest regards,

  4. Sarah, I love these. We had them in our back pasture growing up, and I think they make great centerpiece arrangments. My cousin used them in his Martha's Vineyard house (he had some faux ones) to remind him of home.

    Happy Outdoor Wednesday...


    Sheila :-)

  5. Horse apples. Interesting. I've never heard of them.

    Thanks for coming by


    barbara jean

  6. Very interesting Sarah, never heard of them.
    Being French it translate as Wood Arch... why I have no idea.
    Love the way you have them displayed.
    Happy OW
    Love Claudie

  7. Your wooden bowl with the green and acorns looks cool.

  8. I had never heard of them either. Very interesting post and I REALLY love the way you displayed them in the wood bowl! That whole vignette is SO beautiful! Thank you!
    Have a great rest of the week
    ~Really Rainey~

  9. That is such a unique tree with such unusual "fruit"..they are very decorative and I like how you displayed them!

    Happy Outdoor Wednesday!

  10. What a very special tree and so good to learn about it. Those apples are beautiful.

  11. Awwwwwwwwwwwww, come on.....NOW! you have me terribly jealous. Ceramic acorns for a dollar a piece?!!! You rock!!!

    My O W is a nearby marshland with waterfowl and Autumn colors...and a surprise L N Monster visit!!!

    Come by and see

  12. It's great to go green. I haven't seen one like that before, thanks for sharing!

    I explored the Jogging trail this time.

  13. Great post and I love your porch decor. Lovely arrangement.

  14. Sarah, I've just recently read on another blog, that they are also called, "spider chasers," and are supposed to be good bug repellents!

  15. What a wonderful use of "found" objects. Your porch display is really nice. I hope you are having a terrific Outdoor Wednesday.

  16. I saw a photo of these taken during the QCI house tour at Susan's last month and wondered what they were, thanks for the explanation.
    Great pix as always.

  17. Sarah, I used to long to find osage oranges when I was doing more with flowers. How neat to know they grow in TX. To my knowledge, they aren't here.

    Beautiful assemblage of items, as always.

  18. Hello Sarah; What a great display you made of the funny looking fruit.. thanks for sharing...


  19. I love the punch of green the horse apples give and the texture is very interesting. You have displayed them quite nicely. I love the rooster wall hanging. I probably have told you that before, but every time I see it, I want it! ;)

    Thank you for sharing this with us!

    ~ Tracy

  20. Two great minds working together! I almost did a blog on horse apples myself. I saw a tree just full of the biggest ones I had ever seen. You did a excellent job show casing them, so I want to do one.

  21. Well this is news to me. I have never heard of these before. But lets get down to the real star of the pictures...the rooster hanging on the wall behind the table. Wowsers that is gorgeous.

  22. Hi Sarah, I love your piece on Horse Apples. My cousins in Indiana and Kentucky call them Osage Oranges. Interesting how these names get started. I think they are quite attractive, but wonder what happens when they get very ripe..do they pop open with seeds that blow like cattails?? Let us know how this goes. That is a handsome bowl of them, and I love your new acorns, too.

  23. My daughter was married under a 200 year old osage orange tree. We used the beautiful old tree as the theme of the wedding.

    I've never thought of using the fruit for arrangements but it's very pretty. That color green is very popular now too!

  24. Thanks for sharing this! I never knew the proper name for this tree, we always just called it a horse apple tree. They really look great the way you have them displayed. Kathy

  25. Sarah - I love your horse apples mixed in with your acorns. They look great together. Tell your chef the meal looks delicious!

  26. They do look so pretty in the wodden bowl, but I sure would hate to be under that tree when one of those fell! I would think that could injure a person! laurie


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