Osage oranges (also known as the hedge apple) are a cantaloupe-sized fruit with a green exterior that is reminiscent of a brain. The fruit comes from the Osage tree, which are native to the Midwest, specifically Oklahoma and Northern Texas. Although Osage oranges are not edible due to their orange-peel like flavor, they are non-toxic if consumed and do have a wide variety of other uses. Among being a natural insect repellent, the hedge apple can actually make a charming topiary style decoration.
Things You'll Need
- Osage oranges
- Footed cake tray
- Faux fruit or flowers
- Hot glue gun
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Gather four to five Osage oranges. The number that you need will depend upon the size of the tray on which you are displaying it. Be sure to inspect each fruit to ensure that there are no holes or signs of decay, as squirrels sometimes shred the fruit in search of its seeds.
Arrange the hedge apples on your tray in a pyramid fashion, with only one fruit on the top-center of your pyramid. For an optimal look, the tray should be a footed cake tray with a rim around the plate portion to keep your fruit firmly in place. However, you can use another base to display the topiary if you so choose.
Place toothpicks into the top Osage orange, connecting it to the other fruits. Insert the toothpicks as close to the center of the pyramid as possible, to avoid them being visible. Tap the top fruit slightly, once you have connected it to the others, to make sure it is stable.
Garnish any visible space between your Osage oranges using faux fruit or flowers (actual fruit or flowers will rot or wilt long before your hedge apples). You can keep your garnishments in place using toothpicks or a hot glue gun. To attach the garnishments with a hot glue gun, let the gun heat to the recommended temperature. Then, squeeze a small dab of glue onto the space where you plan to add the fruit or flowers. Place the garnishment onto the glue and hold in place for about five seconds. Repeat around the perimeter of the topiary until you have covered all exposed areas.
Display the topiary, once you have reached the desired look. The topiary fits best as a centerpiece of a dinner or coffee table. However, you can also display it on a side table or fireplace mantle. Wherever you decide, the topiary will be a conversation piece of anyone who sees it.