Saturday, January 19, 2008

Monkey Brains at Black Rock

These fruits of the Osage Orange Tree are nicknamed "Monkey Brains". I found them under a grove of trees near Black Rock Lighthouse in Bridgeport while geocaching.

I had never run across this bizarre tree before, so I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered more interesting tidbits about it. Although the fruit are not very toxic, they tend to make you vomit. An oil of the fruit shows promise as a mosquito repellent.

Also, there are no animal that eat the fruit, so what's the point? Fruit is normally designed to be eaten for seed dispersal. According to one theory, giant ground sloths used to eat it, but went extinct when people came to North America.

The tree is native to the Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas and is also called Osage Apple, Wild Orange, Mock Orange and Bodark. The fruit has other nicknames besides Monkey Brains, including Monkey Ball, Monkey Fruit, and Brain Ball. So there you go, learning something every day.

By the way, the lighthouse and Seaside park are very picturesque and easy to get to in the middle of the winter. No crowds. The lighthouse was once on a island, but that's been connected to the mainland by a huge causeway of boulders you can walk on. From the parking lot, it's about a 15 minute walk.


Larry said...

Interesting looking-but I tend to stay away from fruit that makes me vomit!

Teresa Gallagher said...

Larry as in Reedla?

Larry said...

No-Larry N.-We don't know each other-I live in Portland and do a birding blog.-I just came across your blog by googling.

Prof Emeritus said...

Thanks for the note on what the tree really is called. The grandsons always want to carry (well, grandpa carries) a couple monkey brains home from a walk in the park.