Finding Osage Oranges

For years I have been enthralled by the funky texture and electric color of a fruit that I find all over the ground in the fall. Every year we bring some home just to look at. This year I have used them for a couple of events and one of the flower wholesalers that I buy from keeps trying to sell them to me since he knows that I like to use non flower elements in my arrangements...I keep telling him I know where to find them.

For years I incorrectly called them ugly fruit and only recently learned the correct name when a person delivering us organic meat saw a bowl of them on our table a few weeks ago. He told us they were called osage oranges or hedgeapples and had originally been planted to act as barriers before the invent of barbed wire. When I asked if he had ever seen them prepared as food he replied, "I have never seen any animal, not a horse or even a pig eat one."

A quick internet search showed that the wood from the trees is used for its color and texture to make bows, bowls and pens among anything else that needs to be made wooden. This weekend I am going to use them as part of the centerpieces at an event along with leaves and acorns...I have to admit that I get a certain satisfaction from using items I find in the woods within the city that I live. Living in such an advanced form of capitalism, there is something uncanny about the freedom of hunting for an edible mushroom, harvesting from our back yard or picking up an osage orange to use in a flower arrangement.