I think that I shall never see
A thing so scraggly as the bois d’arc tree.
-paraphrase by me 🙂
If you drive through the Texas countryside in Autumn, you’re likely to see a bois d’ard tree.
They’re big and scraggly, and they produce bumpy chartreuse fruit about the size of a grapefruit which they drop all over the ground in the fall. It’s almost impossible to cut into the fruit, but if you manage, you’ll find it’s very icky and sticky.
Most people have no idea what to call the tree. Those who recognize the bois d’ard tree may call it a variety of easier names: Osage orange, hedge apple, or horse apple.
Bois d’arc (pronounced BO-dark) is a French name that literally means “tree of the arch” or “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 the wood was resilient enough to spring back and launch an arrow far afield without breaking.
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.
So now you know! 😉