Osage orange/hedge apple/horse apple

Osage orange grows in TX and OK. I was surprised yesterday to find my horse in GA eating one, several more on the ground. The info I read says livestock won’t eat it because it is bitter. Anyone with some firsthand experience?

Didn’t know they existed until I saw a horse eating one :joy:. If they were bitter, the horses didn’t seem to mind.

Before I knew what they were called, I called them tennis ball brains.

My late horse used to be in a field with them. I was more concerned about him being knocked on the head by one than eating one.


Mine have always eaten them. They’ll even reach into the trees and yank them off the branches. There’s no accounting for taste! So far, no issues.

Though mind the thorns - Alex came in lame one day with one of those nasty thorns in his hoof.

mine loves them! drags me all over to get to one on the ground.

Haven’t observed any ill effects, other than the VERY sticky slobber

We have them in southern Middle Tennessee.

None of my horses would touch them and those giant thorns on the tree had the nerve to puncture a front tire on our old farm tractor. We cut the tree down but evidently the roots need pulled because it grew back in the form of a tall bush🤐

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We had them in northern MO. My horses ignored them completely so it must be an acquired taste.

Those thorns are no joke. I’ve heard they’re capable of puncturing tractor tires. The tree has a pretty cool history if you’re interested in stuff like that.


I have a couple of those trees and see the fruit on the ground one day, then gone the next. I think the deer eat mine, although I haven’t found anything yet that my filly WON’T eat - so she may be eating them as well, just haven’t seen her do so.

And they are the hardest trees to cut down, there’s a reason they made bows (as in bows and arrows) out of them!

YES! We used them for firewood. The logs last forever in a wood-burning stove. And when they’re dead, the wood seems to get even tougher to cut.

The wood makes for really long lasting fence posts too!

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I had them (osage orange aka “bowdock” ) in the pasture in MS - horses didn’t bother them. The persimmon trees on the other hand… I had to fence those off every fall.

I’ve seen osage in GA and SC too.

We have a tree in one of our pastures here in MO. Horses never seem interested.

The wood is very hard and we’ve had a local farmer approach us to cut it down and use it for fence posts (we said no). We did have to cut one down that was in the fence row and that sucker burned forever in the bonfire.

We have these trees in N Indiana, too. Seems like they’re able to survive in a variety of climates, not just the more temperate ones.