Bois D'Arc Apples


I've been fascinated by these curious fruit since I first saw them.  I photographed them and asked a landscaper friend what they were.  He had to spell the French name so I could look it up.  A little research later and I realized I'm not the only one interested in crafting unique home decor with these unusual fruit.  

The French name for these tough, thorny trees means bow wood.  They are also known as Hedge Apples and as Osage Orange, after the Osage Indian tribe and the color of the wood.  They're native to Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.   The wood is very strong, durable and does not expand or shrink much.  It was planted in hedgerows, like fences, before barbed wire.  It's used for hunting bows, planks for paving streets, and other things.   The fruit ripen and fall from their trees in September and October.

The orange inner bark and yellow roots can be used to make a yellow dye.  

The fruit has insect-repelant properties.  It will discourage cockroaches and spiders if placed in cupboards and closets.  It may be cut into chunks with a hacksaw then placed around your foundation or in you basement to discourage the pests..  The scent is similar to citronella so perhaps it'll repel mosquitos too.  Something I'll have to try.

The juice may irritate your skin a bit and ruminants should be kept from eating them because they can block necessary belching.  The trees are covered in half inch thorns which is why they made such good hedgerows.


Drying

I do not have access to an industrial dryer and my reading says that using the oven is smelly and turns them to mush.  I discovered, by accident, that they take about a year to dry, if left on the porch, here in New Mexico's dry climate.  They turn out looking like giant meatballs.

I tried a method of impaling them, to avoid flat spots.  I'm not thrilled with this method.  It left them with a large hole that had oozed sticky juice.  Some of them stuck to the wire. (Aren't they cute though with their little snow hats?!)

Perhaps if I were to insert a screw eye and let it dry onto the eye for future hanging...  If they shrink before gravity pulls them off this could be great for ornaments.


Christmas Ornaments

I insert a screw eye into where the stem  was or next to the stem.  Hang with a thread or length of fishing line.  I take the dried fruit and spray paint them with traditional Christmas colors.  Then I take matching or contrasting glitter glue and trace the druplets.  Take an artificial poinsettia, sprig of holly or mistletoe and glue the stem into a hole or crevice, covering any blemishes or flat spots.  I then use 6" of cleat plastic lacing to create a hanging loop.  They are still a bit heavy so hang from a strong branch on your Christmas tree or hang from hooks about the house.


Centerpieces

I was watching Oprah one day when she was visiting people in Copenhagen to learn about the Danish lifestyle.  They were conversing at a cafe that used a simple centerpiece.  I recognized it to be bois d'arch apples with a fresh, hot pink, flower stuck into them.  I imitated this idea with one I had just acquired to dry and an artificial flower.  Try it.  The light citrus scent they give off is quite pleasant and fresh.  Try scattering these simple floral arrangements around your home as natural scent devices.  It's like bringing the freshness of fall indoors.

Simply pick or pick up some nice round, unblemished fruit.  Make a hole with a nail, skewer or similar metal device, next to the stem, so you don't break your flower stem.  If your flower stem is too short or non-existant you can use a toothpick or piece of wooden skewer to impale the flower with one end and insert the other end into the fruit.

As an alternate to inserting a flower, try one to three colorful fall leaves.  Insert the stems together so that the leaves fan out in a pleasing array.

For a centerpiece, for a large table, arrange several pieces together on a plate or in a bowl.