Call it a hedge apple, hedge ball or osage orange. They also go by bois d’arc, bodark (in Texas), and bow wood. Some even call them horse apples, which has a different connotation where I came from. Its scientific name is Maclura pomifera.
The topic of this inedible (except maybe by livestock) fruit came up at a recent family picnic.
Some of the attendees had an aversion to spiders. It was mentioned that the hedge apple is a natural way to repel the hairy critters. Sounds better than fumigation.
In the spirit of exploration and science, we purchased some of the weird-looking orbs. According to lore, you don’t cut them, just place them on a piece of foil or something and leave them in your window sills. Spiders and other creepy-crawlers do not like the odor they emit. (I couldn’t smell a thing when I inhale near one.)
We bought our hedge apples at Hays Market but other stores’ produce area may also have them.
I am not sure if they have had any impact on the arachnid population in our neighborhood.
The whole topic reminds me of an old Hudson and Landry comedy routine.
A news reporter is interviewing a rural farmer.
News: “So what do you grow here?”
Farmer: “Buckwheat and radishes.”
N: “Oh, you make a lot on that?”
F: “Sure, make lots on the buckwheat.”
N: “How about the radishes?”
F: “Nope, no they’re a loser big time.”
N: “Then why do you plant them?”
F: “Well you gotta keep those wolverines off the land.”
N: “So you have a problem with wolverines?”
F: “No, you idiot! That’s what the radishes are for.”
N: “Ever seen a wolverine?”
F: “No sir! Them radishes sure do work good!”