Friday, January 9, 2009

Monkey brains

The fruit of the osage orange tree (Maclura pomifera) litters the ground in Woods Creek Park.

An interesting tree, native to the United States. The tree, its wood, and the (inedible) fruit have numerous uses. (See Wikipedia.) Its main use around here is as a playground projectile and, most importantly, as a slightly creepy curiosity (especially when thrust toward your sister). The regional nickname, "monkey brains," aids in this effect.

Here's a close-up of the fruit:

16 comments:

brattcat said...

What a good post. Interesting photo and educational, too...especially the part about the playground projectile. Unfortunately (or fortunately) our climate must be too cold for the Maclura pomifera.

Tanya said...

We have one of these trees. They are weird aren't they?!

MurciaDailyPhoto and www.asthes.tk said...

It's really a brain like marcian brains in Mars Atack the movie.

Marc said...

Never heard of these before. Interesting to learn about them. Two very nice shots, especially the top one.

Fio said...

Oh, what a terrible name for a fruit!
However, very nice shots.
Thank you for sharing. I've never heard of "monkey brains" before, too.

gogouci said...

I've never heard or seen such a thing. Icky if you ask me. Thanks for sharing.

valeria said...

Thank you so much for your kind comments on my VDP! I am so glad you enjoy it. I hope you may visit soon. I keep an eye on Lexington too!

D said...

Yikes! I bet that hurts worse than having acorns pelted at you!

Julie said...

Really good post, MK. This is a new "fruit" to me. I do like the uses that you list.

rob said...

Thanks for sharing this. Very interesting information. The fruit seems very big, is it heavy?

mkhansen said...

Opinion seems split between "icky' and "interesting," which is about what it is around here, too.

The fruit is said to be an emetic; it probably won't kill you, but best not to eat it. It's supposed to be rather nasty tasting, also.

They're a little larger than a tennis ball, and pretty dense. (They can hurt.) I don't think Maclura pomifera grow any farther north than Maryland.

Hyde DP said...

it does like rather creepy closeup

lisasarsfield said...

Eww, Gross and too cool at the same time! My son would loooove these!

Dusty Lens said...

Now I know where these come from. Our supermarket would sell them to ward off spiders from crawl spaces. About a $1 a fruit. And you have enough there to buy a few tanks of gas. ;)

mkhansen said...

You're being fleeced up there, Dusty Lens! Not only do they rot on the ground within a couple of months, but also, according to Wikipedia, the deterrence of spiders has no scientific support, alas.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

You have a nice blog!