Strange Fruit Has Neighbors Asking, ‘What Is It?'


After a Star Valley man planted two Osage Orange trees on his property and decorated his front yard with the fruit, the first question he always gets is, "What is it?"

Carroll Elmore lined the front of his home on Mountain View Road with green fruit that is shaped like an orange, but looks a bit like a brain.


Carroll Elmore, when he moved to Star Valley 23 years ago, ordered two Osage Orange trees from Iowa. To answer neighbors' questions about the tree's fruit, he posted a sign in front of his house.

This fruit will almost never be seen in the state, but is a common sight in the Midwest.

Elmore said his neighbor always had good decorations around the holidays, so he decided to add his own unique fall decorations.

Star Valley residents have been stopping by Elmore's home to look at the rare fruit.

After many neighbors stopped by to ask about the Osage Oranges, he put up a sign to explain what they were, while also explaining that they are not edible.

He said his decorations have been up a few weeks, and has no idea how long he will continue to display the fruit.

The name of the tree comes from the Osage tribes, which lived near the home range of the tree.

Elmore said about 100 to 125 pieces of the fruit line the front of his home.

He said the tree is easy to grow, does not need much water or fertilizer and is also very thorny.

When cutting the fruit in half, there is a milky sap with seeds. The seeds are the only part of the fruit that can be eaten.

"It's a good street tree," he said.

Elmore, when he moved to Star Valley 23 years ago, ordered two Osage Orange trees from Iowa.

"I lived in Kansas quite a while, so I knew about the Osage Orange trees," he said. "They are strange to anyone who comes by unless they are from the Midwest."

On the sign near a bucket full of Osage Oranges, Elmore wrote that visitors and/or neighbors may take one as a keepsake.

"I have not lost too many as gifts," he said. "They are more curious than they are as collectors."

The tree, which is a cousin to the mulberry, usually begins to bear fruit in the fall.

The trees were originally planted as fences or hedges along the boundaries of farms until barbed wire was invented.

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