A thing so scraggly as the bois d’arc tree.
-paraphrase by me 🙂
Every year as we study geography and Indian cultures, I think of bois d’arc trees. They’re big and scraggly and produce bumpy green fruit about the size of a grapefruit–which they drop all over the ground in the fall.
You might have heard this tree called by some of its other names: Osage orange, hedge apple, or horse apple.
Bois d’arc (pronounced “bodark”) is French for “bow wood.” Native Texans prized the extremely hard wood of the bois d’arc for making bows. A bow made of bois d’arc wood took a long time to make and a lot of strength to pull, but it would spring back and launch an arrow far afield, and it was unlikely to break easily.
Settlers sometimes planted bois d’arc trees close so that their tangled, thorny branches would form a hedge that was “horse high, bull strong, and hog tight.” Because the wood naturally resists decay, it also made good fence posts.