Updated: Jun 21
Bois D’Arc trees are a notorious staple of North American agriculture. Named by the French, these trees have a remarkably unique way to pronounce them: Bo-dark. The tree has countless customary names, such as Osage Orange, Horse Apple, Hedge Apple, and much more. This is the kind of tree that native Americans, particularly the Osage Indians, favored for use for their bows and arrows because the younger and smaller branches of the tree were very resilient.
The Bois D’Arc is a seasonally shed, thorny tree in the family of Mulberry. Native to North America, the fruit of this specific tree has been historically exerted to fend off cockroaches and fleas. Growing to be about 40 feet tall and 40 feet wide, this Osage Orange tree can thrive in conditions of drought and extreme heat, which is why Texas can grow so many of them. You’ve probably seen them around your neighborhood! As mentioned earlier, Bois D’Arc trees drop tough, green fruits (which can be recognized as Horse Apples).
Regardless of the misinterpretations of the Bois D’Arc tree being inedible, the fruit is, in fact, edible but is not often consumed because of its unappealing aspects, such as the bitter taste and displeasing latex-like liquid that could potentially irritate the skin by causing unnecessary rashes to form. Besides the flesh, the seeds are safe to consume and can be toasted.
More advantages of the Bois D’Arc trees are that they make strong foundations for the houses in Texas. The wood was used for foundations throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and used for the basement of the Heard Craig Center of the Arts, too. This tree wood is different because it repels insects and rot. Many people have compared this wood to having a concrete foundation. The tree can also be used for fence linings, barn beams, and, in some cases, flooring.
If you have more questions about the Bois D’Arc tree and how it provides the foundation for the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts, stop by for a tour. Tours are held every Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 1:00 pm. You can also call a book a private group tour at 972-569-6909.
Visit the Museum's website for more: www.heardcraig.org