Maclura pomifera (Osage Orange) is a singular tree with an extraordinary history. It was discussed by presidents, part of two national “manias”, helped open up parts of the Midwest to early settlers, and was the subject of enduring entomological folklore (“a single fruit, known as a hedge apple, will drive cockroaches from a room within hours and keep them away for months”). The origin and early spread of the folklore have been discovered. A complete list of all arthropods (54 spp.) known to be associated with the tree is provided. Only a single insect species, Solva pallipes (Loew) (Diptera: Xylomyidae), had been previously reported from the fruit, but herein an additional 30 species from a survey of hedge apples from Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana are reported. Possible future applications of hedge apples, including the rearing of S. pallipes for entomophagy, supplemental nourishment for livestock, and/or biodiesel, are discussed.
“Outstanding Tree: not particularly outstanding” Gilman and Watson (1994)