Since I have looked longingly at these in the local gourd show and despaired over the high price, this was a really good surprise.
It is one of those things I saw I will grow someday. No need now, for I have the one I want. However, I will dry this and maybe harvest the seeds. I do hate to cut a hole in it.
Apple gourd uses
At the gourd show, coming soon, people make all sorts of containers and ornaments from these.
Indian Cigar Tree
|longest (right) is over 14 inches long|
The guy with the tree was on the front porch on his cell phone and saw me trying to reach a seed pod when I returned later to try to reach one. On Sunday, I stopped and talked while he was walking somewhere. He had picked some pods for me by pulling the limb down with a rake. All I had to do was get them off the porch. He offered me the apple gourd while I retrieved the seed pods.
On Sunday night, I told exbf about getting the seed pods. He was very interested, and I supposed pleased that I cared. As usual, I wonder what utilitarian uses these might have beyond propagating more trees. When I wondered aloud their uses, he sounded even more excited. "Oh, they've got lots of uses...swords..."
I laughed aloud. The little boy was speaking. It was cute. I explained that I meant as people or animal food or something like scrubbing the dishes. He had told me they peeled them and the inside was solid, not like separate beans/seeds.
Yes, Indians did smoke them. They are hallucenogenic! Exbf said that if they had had a match, they might have lit one, but they were not allowed to play with matches.
Indian Cigar Tree facts
This tree is called a Catalpa tree, produces large, showy flowers and messy seed pods. It is the home of worms used in the South for fishing. Daves Garden has plenty of facts. Surprisingly, ehow has a good article about the tree and history. Oh, it is garden ehow.
Since I had these two unusual pieces of nature, I remembered that I wanted to check on the Osage Orange tree. I found few in the yard and in the street. Like the Indian Cigar Tree, this sits within feet of the curb.
For several years, I have used one of these at Halloween on a table I set up near the road for Trick or Treaters. A sign in front of the plated Osage Orange says "Zombie Brains." Now, if this were in a large jar of colored water, it would be even more creepy.
The wood of the tree is excellent for fence posts and firewood. A fence can be made by letting the "brains" rot in a bucket of water. Add water. Mash. Dig a trench where you want the fence to be and pour the slurry from the bucket. The fence grows to be thick and impenetrable. Before barbed wire, this was the fence of choice.
No, they do not keep pests away. It seems the best the Osage Orange does is keep them from the immediate vicinity but not from the home.This article is contradictory in the use of the timber, but go all the way down to special uses and see the amazing special properties of the tree. Some people think these are messy. But most people like the marvelous shade. It seems that planting on the west side of the house, a bit away would provide late afternoon shade for people indoors and out.
I read about the Osage Orange or Hedge Apple and considered I might just have a source of food for my three hens. So, I offered them some, placing it before them. Initially, the ran from it and returned to investigate.