The Maclura pomifera, or orange of the Osagi is a medium-sized tree with deciduous leaves, native to North America, the specimens of some years can reach the 10-15 m of height; to this genus belong about ten species, most of which originate from North America, others can be found in tropical America and Africa; M. pomifera is present in Europe as an ornamental plant, originally introduced as a source of food for silkworms, but with little success.
These plants have a short, broad stem with a brownish-gray, wrinkled bark, which breaks into flakes showing the innermost bark, orange in color; the foliage is very ramified, disordered; the branches are rigid, and have thorns at the leaf axil.
The leaves of Maclura pomifera are alternate, simple, pinnate, deeply veined, dark green, shiny on the upper side; in late spring it produces dioric inflorescences, the female flowers are roundish, of 2-3 cm of diameter, of greenish-yellowish color, the male inflorescences are elongated and of brown color.
In summer the orange of the Osagi produces large, round, orange-like infructescences, green, woody and leathery, wrinkled, delicately scented with lemon. There are cultivars without thorns, and in general we tend to cultivate male specimens, which do not produce fruit. The leaves, before falling, take on a golden-yellow color.
As regards the ideal place for the display of the Maclura pomifera, it must be considered that this kind of tree loves sunny positions, even if it develops without any problem in any position, even in the complete shade; it bears the winds, even very strong or brackish of the coasts.
This tree has a rustic and resistant character, it does not fear the cold and can withstand temperatures close to -20 ° C. These trees are usually cultivated for ornamental purposes as single specimens or for the constitution of hedges of great height.
The orange trees of the Osagi, generally, are satisfied with the rains, even if it is good to water regularly in the summer the new specimens planted in spring, to favor a vigorous development of the root system and allow them to have the maximum development. It is good to supply water in the first 2/3 years of life of new plants, checking however that water stagnations do not form which would compromise their health.
The specimens belonging to this variety, given their rusticity, tolerate any type of soil, even if they prefer loose and deep soils, which can allow the correct development of the root system.
To obtain new specimens of Maclura pomifera, proceed with sowing directly in the autumn, after placing the seeds in hot water for 36-48 hours, and lay them in the refrigerator for at least a month; in spring it is possible to take semi-woody cuttings, while the rooting of woody cuttings is more likely in late autumn.
Osagi Orange - Maclura pomifera: Pests and diseases
Generally, these plants being resistant, the orange specimens of the Osagi are not affected by pests or diseases.