Osage orange (Maranta leuconeura) is a short-trunked, mulberry family tree. It has spreading, thorny branches with glossy, oval, green leaves and inedible, lime-green orange-sized fruit. Rows of Osage oranges served American settlers as fences.
Osage orange is cold hardy to United States Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone 4, where winter lows fall in the minus 20 to minus 30 degrees range.
Osage orange's original native range is undetermined. It may have extended from southwestern Arkansas west into southeastern Oklahoma and south into northeastern Texas, according to the University of Texas at Austin's Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
The Osage orange has naturalized in 37 U.S. states. It doesn’t grow in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota, North Dakota, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Montana and Wyoming in the lower 48. It also doesn’t grow in Hawaii and Alaska
Osage Orange in Michigan
The USDA reports wild Osage orange populations across southern Michigan. It has naturalized in Oakland, Livingston, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, Berrien and Kent counties. All these counties are in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5. The tree could survive winters across most of the state. Only a small area of the north central Lower Peninsula and much of the southwestern Upper Peninsula have winter temperatures too cold for Osage orange.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Maclura Pomifera
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Maclura Pomifera
- The United States National Arboredum: USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Maclura Pomifera Distribution Map
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Maclura Pomifera Michigan Distribution Map
- Growit.com: USDA Michigan Plant Hardiness Zones map