Is Maclura Pomifera Poisonous? Everything You Need to Know

Have you ever heard of maclura pomifera? If not, you’re probably familiar with its common name: Osage orange. The Osage orange tree is known for its large, round fruit that resembles a green brain. But what many people don’t realize is that the fruit, as well as other parts of the tree, may be poisonous to humans and livestock.

If you’re wondering if it’s safe to touch or eat maclura pomifera, the answer is not so straightforward. While the flesh of the fruit is not toxic, it can cause skin irritation due to its milky sap. Additionally, the seeds and bark of the tree may contain toxic compounds that are harmful to both humans and animals. Some people have reported nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms after ingesting parts of the tree.

Despite its potential toxic properties, maclura pomifera is still widely used in landscaping and for ornamental purposes. Many people also use the wood from the tree to make bows and other crafts. So, should you avoid Osage orange trees altogether? It’s best to exercise caution and avoid ingesting any parts of the tree. As they say, better safe than sorry.

What is Maclura Pomifera?

Maclura Pomifera is a tree species that belongs to the Moraceae family. Also known as the Osage orange, hedge apple, or horse apple, it is native to North America, specifically the southern United States. Its range extends from Texas to Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri. The tree can grow up to a height of 60 feet and has a short trunk with a rounded crown. The leaves are dark green and glossy, while the flowers are tiny and greenish-yellow.

  • The fruit of the Maclura Pomifera tree is a large, round, and wrinkled fruit that looks like a small green-yellowish brain called Osage orange.
  • The fruit is usually utilized for ornamental purposes due to its distinctive bumpy appearance, especially during the fall and winter seasons.
  • Maclura pomifera is well known for its tough wood, which is valued for its durability and resistance to rot. It has been utilized to make bows and tool handles, among other things.

Despite its name, the Osage orange is not related to oranges or any other citrus fruit. Moreover, it is known to produce a milky latex when the fruit or stem of the tree is broken or cut, which can cause skin irritations to some individuals.

Toxicity in Plants

Plants are a vital part of our ecosystem. They provide food, shelter, and oxygen for all living creatures. However, not all plants are safe to consume. Some plants contain toxic compounds that can cause harm to humans and animals alike.

  • Herbivores have evolved to eat a wide range of plants, some of which contain toxic compounds. Toxins in plants can act as a defense mechanism against being eaten. For example, nicotine in tobacco plants and caffeine in coffee plants are both toxins that help to deter herbivores.
  • Some plants can also contain toxic compounds that are harmful to humans. Poison ivy and poison oak contain urushiol, a toxic oil that causes an allergic reaction in many people.
  • Other toxic plants include the deadly nightshade, hemlock, and wolfsbane. These plants can cause serious illness or death if ingested.

Maclura Pomifera Poisonous or Not?

Maclura pomifera, also known as the Osage Orange, is a plant that is native to North America. It is a common ornamental shrub and is often used as a hedge plant. While the fruit of the plant is not toxic, other parts of the plant, including the leaves and thorns, contain a toxic compound called maclurin.

Maclurin is a strong irritant that can cause skin rashes, itching, and swelling in some people. The compound is also toxic to livestock and can cause paralysis when ingested in large quantities.

Toxic Component Effect
Maclurin Skin irritation, swelling, and rash in humans; paralysis in livestock

While the Osage Orange is not considered to be highly toxic, care should be taken when handling the plant. It is important to wear gloves when pruning or handling the plant to avoid skin irritation or contact with the toxic compound maclurin.

In conclusion, while plants are a vital part of our ecosystem, some can be toxic to humans and animals. It is important to be aware of the potential dangers that certain plants pose and take appropriate precautions when handling or consuming them.

Poisonous plants in North America

Many plants in North America can be poisonous if ingested or touched. While some plants may cause minor skin irritation, others can be deadly if consumed in large quantities. It’s important to know which plants in your area are toxic to avoid accidental exposure and poisoning.

Common poisonous plants in North America:

  • Poison Ivy: This plant is found all across North America and contains a sap that can cause a painful, itchy rash when it comes in contact with the skin.
  • Jimsonweed: This plant contains toxic alkaloids that can cause hallucinations, seizures, and even death.
  • Poison Hemlock: This plant is often mistaken for wild carrots or parsley, but can be deadly if ingested, causing respiratory failure and paralysis.

Is Maclura Pomifera poisonous?

Also known as Osage orange or hedge apple, Maclura pomifera is a deciduous tree that produces large, green fruit that resemble oranges. While the fruit is not toxic to humans, the milky sap produced by the tree can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction in some individuals. The wood of the tree is also toxic to horses and cattle if ingested.

Table of poisonous plants in North America:

Plant Name Toxicity Level Effects
Poison Ivy Moderate Skin rash, blisters
Jimsonweed High Hallucinations, respiratory failure, coma
Poison Hemlock High Respiratory failure, paralysis, death
Castor Bean High Abdominal pain, nausea, seizures

It’s important to always research and identify any unknown plants in your area before handling or consuming them. If you suspect you have been exposed to a poisonous plant, contact a medical professional immediately.

Maclura pomifera’s poisonous substances

Maclura pomifera, commonly known as Osage orange or hedge apple, is a native tree in the United States. While its fruit has been used for various purposes, such as insect repellent and natural dye, it is important to note that the tree contains poisonous substances that can be harmful to humans and animals.

  • The sap of Maclura pomifera contains a milky, white substance that can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some people.
  • The tree’s leaves, bark, and roots contain the toxic chemical maclurin, which can cause severe discomfort if ingested or come into contact with the skin.
  • Ingesting the fruit of the tree can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive problems. However, the fruit is not typically considered to be deadly.

Mitigation of the hazardous substances present in Maclura pomifera is essential before using any of its parts. People who come in contact with the tree should wear protective gloves, long-sleeved clothing, and take special care when handling the fruit. Additionally, it is important to properly dispose of any parts of the tree that have been removed, such as pruned branches or fallen fruit.

In conclusion, while Maclura pomifera has many useful applications, it must be handled with care due to its poisonous substances. Proper precautions should always be taken when dealing with any part of the tree to avoid potential harm.

Reported Cases of Toxic Reactions to Maclura Pomifera

Maclura pomifera, commonly known as hedge apple or Osage orange, is a fruit that is native to North America. While it is not typically consumed by humans, there have been reported cases of toxic reactions to the fruit and its extracts.

  • Ingestion of the fruit or its extract can cause vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • Exposure to the sap or leaves of the tree can cause skin irritation and rash.
  • There have also been reports of hay fever-like symptoms in individuals who come into contact with the fruit, possibly due to its association with mold and fungi.

Case Studies

A case study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology reported a case of a 13-year-old girl who experienced nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea after consuming three hedge apples. The symptoms resolved on their own within 24 hours.

Another case study published in the Journal of the Kansas Medical Society reported a case of a woman who developed a severe rash on her legs after coming into contact with the sap of the hedge apple tree. The rash resolved after treatment with topical steroids.


The specific toxic components of Maclura pomifera have not been identified, but it is believed that the fruit contains a mixture of bioactive compounds that can cause mild to moderate toxicity in humans. The fruit and its extracts should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women.

In general, it is recommended that individuals avoid contact with the plant, as there is a risk of developing skin irritation or other allergic reactions.

Summary of Reported Cases

Case Symptoms Treatment
13-year-old girl Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea N/A (symptoms resolved on their own)
Woman Severe rash on legs Topical steroids

While only a few case studies have been reported, it is important to remain cautious when handling or consuming Maclura pomifera. Any symptoms of toxicity or allergic reactions should be promptly addressed by a medical professional.

Safe handling and disposal of Maclura Pomifera

Maclura Pomifera, commonly known as the Osage Orange or Hedge Apple, is a tree native to North America. Its fruit is often used to repel pests, as it contains a natural insecticide. While the fruit is not poisonous to humans, caution should still be exercised during handling and disposal.

  • Wear gloves when handling the fruit to avoid skin irritation, as the milky sap can cause a rash.
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling the fruit.
  • Avoid ingesting the fruit, as it can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

If you need to dispose of the fruit, it is best to do so in a sealed trash bag, as the odor can attract pests. Do not compost the fruit, as it can take a long time to break down and may introduce pests to your compost pile.

It is also important to note that the bark, leaves, and wood of the Maclura Pomifera tree contain a toxic compound called maclurin. While contact with the bark and leaves should not cause significant harm, ingesting the wood or smoke from burning it can be toxic. As such, it is not recommended to use the wood of the Maclura Pomifera tree for firewood or other purposes.

Safe handling and disposal tips:
Wear gloves when handling the fruit.
Wash hands thoroughly after handling the fruit.
Do not ingest the fruit.
Dispose of the fruit in a sealed trash bag.
Do not compost the fruit.
Avoid using the wood for firewood or other purposes.

Safe plant alternatives to Maclura Pomifera.

While Maclura Pomifera or Osage Orange is not necessarily poisonous, it does contain a sticky white sap that can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions in some individuals. To avoid any potential discomfort or complications, it may be best to consider alternative plants that have similar qualities to the Maclura Pomifera but are safer to handle and plant in your garden or landscape.

  • Hedge Apple: Like the Maclura Pomifera, the Hedge Apple tree produces a large fruit that can be dried and used for decorating or as a natural pest repellent. However, the Hedge Apple is less likely to cause skin irritation and is generally considered safe to handle.
  • Catalpa: The Catalpa tree is a native species to North America and produces large, showy flowers in the spring. It is a popular choice for landscaping and has similar hardiness and growth patterns to the Maclura Pomifera.
  • Eastern Redbud: The Eastern Redbud is a small, ornamental tree that produces pink and purple blooms in the spring. It is a great alternative for those looking to add color and interest to their landscape without the potential skin irritations of the Maclura Pomifera.

Aside from trees, there are also other plants that can provide similar benefits to the Maclura Pomifera without the sticky sap or potential allergic reactions.

Lavender: Known for its fragrant flowers and soothing scent, lavender is a great addition to any garden. It is low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and can be used for a variety of purposes such as repelling pests, making potpourri, and even in cooking.

Mint: Mint is a versatile herb that can be used for cooking, teas, and even in pest control. It is easy to grow and spreads quickly, making it a great option for filling in empty spaces in your garden or landscape.

Plant Benefits
Hedge Apple Natural pest repellent and decorative fruit
Catalpa Showy flowers and hardy growth patterns
Eastern Redbud Colorful blooms and smaller size for ornamental landscaping
Lavender Fragrant flowers and versatile uses
Mint Culinary and pest control uses, easy to grow and maintain

No matter what alternative you choose, it’s important to research and understand the needs and growing requirements of each plant to ensure their success in your landscape. Consult with a local gardening expert or landscaper to determine which plants are best for your specific environment and gardening goals.

FAQs about Is Maclura Pomifera Poisonous

1. What is Maclura Pomifera?

Maclura Pomifera, also known as Osage orange, is a small deciduous tree that produces fruit resembling a green, bumpy ball.

2. Is Maclura Pomifera poisonous?

Maclura Pomifera is not poisonous, but the milky sap it produces can cause skin irritation.

3. Can you eat Maclura Pomifera fruit?

The fruit of Maclura Pomifera is not typically consumed by humans, as it has a bitter taste and is difficult to digest.

4. Are animals affected by Maclura Pomifera fruit?

Some animals, such as horses and cattle, can develop colic and gastrointestinal issues if they eat too much of the fruit or leaves. However, in small quantities, the fruit is not harmful to most animals.

5. Is Maclura Pomifera used for medicinal purposes?

Parts of the Maclura Pomifera tree have been used in traditional medicine for their anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. However, it is not commonly used in modern medicine.

6. Can Maclura Pomifera be grown in home gardens?

Maclura Pomifera can be grown in home gardens, but it requires a lot of space and maintenance. Additionally, the fruit is not typically harvested for consumption.

7. Can Maclura Pomifera cause environmental harm?

Maclura Pomifera is considered an invasive species in some areas, and its extensive root system can damage pavement and other infrastructure.


Thank you for reading about the potential toxicity of Maclura Pomifera. While the tree itself is not poisonous, it can cause skin irritation and may not be suitable for all environments. We hope you found this article informative and appreciate your continued readership. Please visit again for more interesting topics.

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