Bois d'Arc, or bodark as we would say it, horse apples, Osage Orange. As a child, the tree was simply a source of amusement. My brother and I and my cousins had horse apple fights. We hit the big hard fruits with baseball bats to see how far we could knock them. We stomped on the old, soft fruit lying under the trees. The more splatter, the better. However, this common and venerable hardwood has played an important role throughout the history of our area, prized by Native Americans and European pioneers alike for its hard wood.
In fact, the old house on the hill sat on Bois d'Arc stumps. It was about 2.5-3 feet off the ground - high enough that playing trucks, army men, and cowboys and Indians in the soft dirt under the edge of the porch was a favorite pastime. When I was a child the house was already a hundred years old, and it showed its age. It was a shambles, but the stumps forming its foundation were as hard as rocks, and as functional as the day they had been put in place.
Today, I see the Bois d'Arc as a marvel of nature, utilitarian in so many ways and yet full of beauty in its bright, glossy, dark green leaves, its yellow wood, and it pleasing form. Even those fruits we so loved to torture are a natural pest repellent.