Osage Orange | WYPR

Osage Orange

Mar 5, 2019

I was driving my son home from a school a few weeks ago when he posed me an interesting question. “Dad,” he said, “I heard that scientists might be able to clone a woolly mammoth. Is that true?”

Not being a genetic engineer myself, I wasn’t certain about the specifics about mammoth cloning efforts, but I had read about attempts to bring back these behemoth animals in various newspapers over the last few years. And while Hollywood tells us that reintroducing prehistoric species might not be the most well-informed decision that humans could make, my son’s question did get me thinking about a local fruit that is relic from the same period that mammoths roamed the Earth. The fruit in question is the Osage orange, and you will often see it strewn by the side of the road in our region. If you haven’t heard of the Osage orange, you might know it by one of its other common names: the hedge apple, the horse apple, or the bow-wood.