Maclura pomifera - Osage Orange or Monkey Ball Tree

  • This small tree or large shrub is used as a hedge in the United States but it can also grow into a small tree of up to 8m with deeply furrowed, scaly bark and straight spines (it makes an excellent barrier). It's simple, glossy leaves are quite ornamental, just like the quirky, hairy, globular fruits that are produced (with a diameter of 8-12cm) which mature to a pale green-yellow in Autumn. It can be grown on any soil with good drainage and will love a sunny, warm spot. It is dioecious, therefore male and female plants are required for fruits. Our 1 year old plants already show their spines and will soon grow into an 80cm tall little tree next year.

  • Other common names: Hedge Apple, Horse Apple

  • Native to: Mid-United States

  • Family: Moraeae (Mulberry Tree Family)

  • Habit (UK conditions): small tree

  • Growth rate: medium

  • Typical size in 10 years: 5m x 2m (it can be kept smaller by pruning)

  • Main value: Autumn coloration, fruits, spines

  • Flower colour: creamy (not significant) - male flowers; spherical-pompon like -female flowers

  • Flowering period: May - June

  • Autumn coloration: shades of yellow

  • Preferences: grows best in full sun, on any soil with good drainage (drought tolerant)

  • Hardiness: hardy to about -15C

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