Autumn moved in and broght along its friends - all of the creepy crawly kind - spiders, crickets, sticky flies. All these guys make their appearance about 3.25 days after the mosquitos and ticks finally make their exit. Wouldn't be farm living if we didn't have bugs!
Which brings us to ... Learn Something New Friday ... let's talk about the A-MAziNG Green Brains!
In Texas you might call them Horse Apples. In Pennslyvania, they are monkey ball sand other places might call them Green Brains. In South Dakota we call them Hedge Balls. But the correct term for this ugly ball is Hedge Apples. Interestingly, I could not stump a single grocery store stocker when asked if they carry Hedge Balls. They might not know where to find the coffee, but they know their hedge balls!
If I were so lucky as to find a hedge ball what would I do with it?
Simply leave whole or cut in wedges, put on a tray of some type (we use paper plates), place one in each room or adjoining closet and say your final goodbyes to creepy crawlies. Lore says they possibly even repel mice.
Is there scientific evidence to support Hedge Apples bug-be-gone reputation?
Iowa State University toxicologists extracted compounds from hedge apples that were found to repel insects. I'm glad to hear a scientific reason for this. I was concerned they were running away from the sheer ugliness.
But scientists also found that natural concentrations of these compounds in the fruit were too low to be an effective repellent.
I politely disagree. I've seen it myself and you can find lots of testimonies at www.hedgeapple.com
Do hedge apples grow on trees?
Hedgeballs grow on the Osage Orange tree. They grow in Zones 4-10 and grow easily from seed. Despite its name, Osage Orange are not related to oranges, but the fruit does have a citrus-like fragrance.
Grows in Zone 4? Do I detect a new item on DH's (Dear Husband's) honey-do list by trying to grow our own Osage Orange trees in South Dakota?! I'm not sure yet, as I found a couple of warnings -
If you are considering growing them, think twice and make sure you want to do this! The trees can spread and become a real problem in pastures. The thorny branches make pruning difficult, and the thorns can easily cause flat tires - even through the thick tread of a tractor tire. You certainly don't want to step on one barefoot! Temperate Climate Permaculture
Horse-High, bull strong and pig-tight!
One reason is so common in Western Pennsylvania is that it was the original barbed wire fence. Pioneer farmers planted hedges of the thorny trees, which served as excellent windbreaks and barriers to keep cattle in (or out, depending on whose cattle they were). An Osage orange hedge was considered "horse-high, bull-strong, and pig-tight," according to historian Paul Landacre in "A Natural History of Western Pennsylvania." Pittsburg Post-Gazette
Hedge Apple Humor (brought to you by www.hedgeapple.com)
Is the hedge apple really the mascot of a Wall Street day trader group?
Sure enough, he has been their hedge against inflation.
Do hedge apples really repel lawyers?
Yes they do and all other types of insects!
I'm definitely knighting Hedge Apples as able to live up to the "Wholesome Living in a Colorful World" with his bug-be-gone super power and thorny personality.