Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Maclura pomifera


SPECIES: Maclura pomifera
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Carey, Jennifer H. 1994. Maclura pomifera. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : MACPOM SYNONYMS : NO-ENTRY SCS PLANT CODE : MAPO COMMON NAMES : osage-orange hedge-apple bois d'arc TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for osage-orange is Maclura pomifera (Raf.) Schneid. (Moraceae) [8,13,28]. There are no currently accepted infrataxa. LIFE FORM : Tree FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Maclura pomifera
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Osage-orange is native to a narrow belt in eastern Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, southwestern Arkansas, and the extreme northwest corner of Louisiana. This belt includes portions of the Blackland Prairies, Chiso Mountains, and the Red River drainage [4]. Osage-orange has been introduced into most of the conterminous United States and has become naturalized throughout much of the eastern United States and the central Great Plains [4,8,13,28,33,35]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES14 Oak - pine FRES15 Oak - hickory FRES16 Oak - gum - cypress FRES17 Elm - ash - cottonwood FRES18 Maple - beech - birch FRES38 Plains grasslands FRES39 Prairie STATES : AL AR CA CO CT DE FL GA IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MS MO NE NH NJ NY NC OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 14 Great Plains KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K098 Northern floodplain forest K100 Oak - hickory forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K113 Southern floodplain forest SAF COVER TYPES : 93 Sugarberry - American elm - green ash SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Native and naturalized populations of osage-orange occur in rich bottomland forests and on sandy terraces. On the Trinity River floodplain in Texas, mostly small (less than 8-inch [20 cm] diameter) osage-orange occurs in bottomland forests dominated by cedar elm (Ulmus crassifolia), sugarberry (Celtis laevigata), green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), and western soapberry (Sapindus soponaria var. drummondii) [18]. In Iowa, osage-orange occurs in a honey-locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)-black locust (Robinia psuedoacacia)-boxelder (Acer negundo)-elm (Ulmus spp.) forest [15]. On lower terraces of Salt Creek in Illinois, osage-orange occurs in a bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)-hackberrry (Celtis occidentalis) forest [16]. Osage-orange is also associated with white oak (Quercus alba), white ash (Fraxinus americana), and red mulberry (Morus rubra) [4]. In Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama, osage-orange occurs with eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), black walnut (Juglans nigra), hickory (Carya spp.), and elm [4]. Osage-orange that has escaped cultivation often occurs as thickets along fencerows and ditches, in ravines, and in overgrazed pastures. It commonly occurs with honey-locust in disturbed areas [4].


SPECIES: Maclura pomifera
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE : Osage-orange wood is hard, durable, and resistant to decay. It is primarily used for fence posts [4,24]. IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : Osage-orange provides shelter and cover for wildlife. Small mammals and birds use the thorny tree for cover. The bitter-tasting, fleshy fruit is generally not eaten, but some animals including squirrel, fox, red crossbill, and northern bobwhite occasionally eat the seeds [4,14,24,34]. Seedlings and sprouts are browsed occasionally [4]. Downy woodpeckers use osage-orange as forage sites [10]. PALATABILITY : Osage-orange fruit and browse are generally not palatable [4,33,34]. NUTRITIONAL VALUE : The fleshy fruit of osage-orange is more than 80 percent digestible [25]. COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : Osage-orange is used for soil stabilization and strip mine reclamation [3,4,32]. It is adapted to most surface mine conditions but does better in less acidic, well-drained mine soils. It has a lower soil pH limit of 4.5. Osage-orange had a 33 percent survival rate 30 years after planting on mine soils in Illinois and Indiana, and a 39 percent survival rate after 30 years on mine soils in Ohio [32]. Osage-orange is sensitive to soil compaction [4]. OTHER USES AND VALUES : Early settlers of the Great Plains used osage-orange for hedgerows. The diffuse, thorny branches form impenetrable hedges which were used to fence in livestock [24]. Osage-orange wood extractives are used for food processing, pesticide manufacturing, and dye making. The Osage Indians used the wood for dye and bows. The strong-smelling fruit repels cockroaches [24]. Osage-orange is planted as an ornamental. There is an unusual thornless male form which is clonally propagated [19]. OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Osage-orange is planted in shelterbelts and hedgerows of the Great Plains. It is planted alone or in a row adjacent to a row of evergreens or taller hardwoods [34]. Osage-orange hedges are maintained as fences by pruning [24]. While a favorite of the past, osage-orange hedgerows are now replaced with species that provide more benefit to wildlife [14]. Osage-orange is recommended for planting on deep, moist, permeable soils and medium to shallow upland silty-clayey loams, sandy loams, and loamy sands. It is not recommended for sandhills or wet, poorly drained soils [21]. Osage-orange hedges are often clearcut for posts. Winter cuttings produce the most vigorous stump sprouts which regenerate the hedge [27]. Three to five years after clearcutting, the new sprout stands should be thinned to 240 stems per 100 meters. The sprouts are susceptible to fire and grazing [4]. Osage-orange is generally resistant to disease and insects; the only serious affliction is cotton root rot (Phymatotrichum omnivorum) [4,22]. Eastern mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum) occasionally parasitizes osage-orange [8]. Hamel [9] describes herbicide application rates, methods, and seasons for osage-orange control. Triclopyr or picloram, applied with a chainsaw girdling treatment, are effective against osage-orange [17]. Launchbaugh and Owensby [12] describe preferred osage-orange herbicide control methods for Kansas.


SPECIES: Maclura pomifera
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Osage-orange is a small, native, deciduous tree that averages 30 feet (9 m) in height. It has a short trunk and rounded crown. Shade-killed lower branches remain on the tree for years, forming a dense thicket. Branches growing in full sun have sharp, stout thorns 0.5 to 1 inch (1.3-2.5 cm) long. Osage-orange has a large, round multiple fruit composed of many fleshy calyces, each containing one seed. Osage-orange generally has a well-developed taproot; a tree in Oklahoma had roots more than 27 feet (8.2 m) deep. On shallow soils, roots spread laterally [4,7,34]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Phanerophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Osage-orange reproduces vegetatively and by seed. It is dioecious. Female trees begin producing seeds at age 10 but are most productive from age 25 to 65. Good seed crops are produced nearly every year. Seeds are disseminated by animals, gravity, and water. Seeds have a slight dormancy which is overcome by soaking in water for 2 days or stratifying in sand or peat for 30 days. Seed germination requires exposed mineral soil and full light. At 7 years of age, osage-orange is about 8 feet (2.4 m) tall with a crown spread of about 6 feet (1.8 m) [2,4,40]. Seed collection, cleaning, storage, and planting techniques are described [2,34]. Osage-orange sprouts vigorously from the stump [4,34]. Godfrey [7] suggested that it also sprouts from the roots. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Osage-orange grows best in areas that receive 25 to 40 inches (640-1,020 mm) precipitation a year but tolerates a minimum of 15 inches (380 mm). It is sensitive to cold and succumbs to winter-kill in the northern Great Plains [4,34]. Osage-orange grows on a variety of soils but does best on rich, moist, well-drained bottomlands. It occurs on alkaline soils, shallow soils overlaying limestone, clayey soils, and sandy soils [4,26,35]. It can occur on bottomlands which are seasonally flooded [4]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : The shade tolerance of osage-orange is not well defined. It has been listed as intermediate in tolerance [32] and intolerant [4]. Osage-orange grows in the subcanopy of bottomland forests [4,16], but it also invades overgrazed pastures and other open, disturbed sites with eroding soil. Osage-orange regenerates naturally on sunny sites but grows when planted in dense hedges [4]. Osage-orange in remnant bottomland hardwood forests is negatively associated with fragment size. In other words, the smaller the area of remnant forest, the more likely that osage-orange will occur there. Rudis [23] suggested that fragmentation may promote and accelerate the establishment of pioneer species and species adapted to disturbance. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Osage-orange generally flowers from April to June and the fruit ripens from September to October [2,4]. It flowers in mid-May in Kansas and Nebraska [28].


SPECIES: Maclura pomifera
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Information about the fire ecology of osage-orange is lacking in the literature. Osage-orange probably survives top-kill by fire. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tree with adventitious-bud root crown/soboliferous species root sucker


SPECIES: Maclura pomifera
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Small-diameter osage-orange are probably top-killed by most fires. Depending on fire severity and root depth, they may be completely killed. Larger individuals may survive. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Osage-orange probably sprouts if top-killed by fire. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : The dead, persistent, lower branches of osage-orange may promote crown fires.


SPECIES: Maclura pomifera
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Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service: 426-432. [23833] 5. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 6. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 7. Godfrey, Robert K. 1988. Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of northern Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 734 p. [10239] 8. Great Plains Flora Association. 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas. 1392 p. [1603] 9. Hamel, Dennis R. 1981. Forest management chemicals: A guide to use when considering pesticides for forest management. Agric. Handb. 585. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 512 p. [7847] 10. Jackson, Jerome A. 1970. A quantitative study of the foraging ecology of downy woodpeckers. Ecology. 51(2): 318-323. [20556] 11. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 12. Launchbaugh, John L.; Owensby, Clenton E. 1978. Kansas rangelands: Their management based on a half century of research. Bull. 622. Hays, KS: Kansas State University, Kansas Agricultural Experiment Station. 56 p. [9477] 13. Little, Elbert L., Jr. 1979. Checklist of United States trees (native and naturalized). Agric. Handb. 541. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 375 p. [2952] 14. Martin, Alexander C.; Zim, Herbert S.; Nelson, Arnold L. 1951. American wildlife and plants. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 500 p. [4021] 15. McBride, Joe. 1973. Natural replacement of disease-killed elms. American Midland Naturalist. 90(2): 300-306. [8868] 16. McClain, William E.; Jenkins, Michael A.; Jenkins, Sean E.; Ebinger, John E. 1993. Changes in the woody vegetation of a bur oak savanna remnant in central Illinois. Natural Areas Journal. 13(2): 108-114. [21443] 17. Melichar, M. W.; Geyer, W. A.; Ritty, P. M. 1986. Hardwood tree control with herbicide applications. In: Proceedings, 40th annual meeting of the Northeastern Weed Science Society; [Date unknown]; [Location unknown]. [Place of publication unknown]: Northeastern Weed Science Society: 210-211. [10484] 18. Nixon, Elray S.; Willett, R. Larry. 1974. Vegetative analysis of the floodplain of the Trinity River, Texas. Contract No. DACW6-74-C-0030. Prepared for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, Fort Worth, Texas. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]. 267 p. On file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [20420] 19. Pair, John C. 1991. Maclura pomifera var. inermis `Wichita'. American Nurseryman. 174(8): 68, 146. [23835] 20. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 21. Read, Ralph A. 1964. Tree windbreaks for the Central Great Plains. Agric. Handb. 250. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [2897] 22. Riffle, Jerry W.; Peterson, Glenn W., technical coordinators. 1986. Diseases of trees in the Great Plains. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-129. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 149 p. [16990] 23. Rudis, Victor A. 1993. Forest fragmentation of southern U.S. bottomland hardwoods. In: Brissette, John C., ed. Proceedings, 7th biennial southern silvicultural research conference; 1992 November 17-19; Mobile, AL. Gen. Tech. Rep. SO-93. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station: 35-46. [23245] 24. Sand, Susan. 1991. A tree history: The osage oragne. American Horticulturist. 70: 37-39. [23834] 25. Short, Henry L.; Epps, E. A., Jr. 1976. Nutrient quality and digestibility of seeds and fruits from southern forests. Journal of Wildlife Management. 40(2): 283-289. [10510] 26. Simpson, Benny J. 1988. A field guide to Texas trees. Austin, TX: Texas Monthly Press. 372 p. [11708] 27. Slabaugh, P. E. 1965. A reappraisal of some silvicultural problems of Great Plains shelterbelts. In: Proceedings: Society of American Foresters meeting; 1964 September 27 - October 1; Denver, CO. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters: 23-27. [12081] 28. Stephens, H. A. 1973. Woody plants of the North Central Plains. Lawrence, KS: The University Press of Kansas. 530 p. [3804] 29. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 30. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1994. Plants of the U.S.--alphabetical listing. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 954 p. [23104] 31. U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Survey. [n.d.]. NP Flora [Data base]. Davis, CA: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Biological Survey. [23119] 32. Vogel, Willis G. 1981. A guide for revegetating coal minespoils in the eastern United States. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-68. Broomall, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station. 190 p. [15577] 33. Voss, Edward G. 1985. Michigan flora. Part II. Dicots (Saururaceae--Cornaceae). Bull. 59. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Institute of Science; Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Herbarium. 724 p. [11472] 34. Wasser, Clinton H. 1982. Ecology and culture of selected species useful in revegetating disturbed lands in the West. FWS/OBS-82/56. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 347 p. [15400] 35. Wofford, B. Eugene. 1989. Guide to the vascular plants of the Blue Ridge. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press. 384 p. [12908]

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