Orange tree root (found along riverbanks - Central Ohio)

Warren L. Kovach WarrenK at
Wed Dec 28 04:53:34 EST 1994

In article: <3df6l3$paq at>  
cdonahey at (Cynthia Donahey) writes:
> Could anyone help me identify this?  It is an orange tree root consisting
> of layers of a paper like substance. I've found as little as inch or two
> of this root or as much as maybe four or five feet.  It is no longer
> attached to the tree when I find it, and the paper is shredding so I don't
> usually find the bark either.  It is a very soft, but noticeable orange
> color.  I've only found it along streams or rivers, so it may be a species
> of tree at home in that kind of area.  On the other hand, I may find it in
> that area simply because of the erosive action of water. 

That sounds like Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera).  It has distinctly orange roots 
and often lives in wet condition.  It bears these very large (softball-sized) 
round, green fruits with a rough exterior.
> 	The Indians and early settlers must have used it for something. 
> It is as colorful as bright green moss.  It looks like hand-made paper
> when peeled from the root.  If anyone knows what this is, or has any clue
> on how to identify it, please E-mail me and let me know. 

The Osage indians used to use the wood to make bows and 
extracted a yellow dye from the roots.

Dr. Warren L. Kovach              Internet: WarrenK at
Kovach Computing Services                       CompuServe: 100016,2265
85 Nant-y-Felin                                tel./fax: +44-248-450414
Pentraeth, Anglesey, Wales LL75 8UY U.K.

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