What Are Hedge Apples Good For?

Hedge Apples
This is a page about what hedge apples are good for. The hedge apple or Osage orange may look like an orange but it is actually a member of the mulberry family. While many people claim that they are a good natural pest repellent, it is only in concentrated amounts that it is effective. It is generally not eaten by people or wildlife.


Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

August 10, 2010

When collecting the hedge apples to use for cancer treatment, can you collect them from the tree or do you need to let them fall off first?

By Alharston from Scottsville, KY


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August 15, 20107 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hedgeapples are not poisonous. However, Hedge apples have suffocated livestock by lodging in their esophagus. Very often a Hedge apple is incorrectly referred to as a Hedge Ball, Horse Apple, Green Brains, Monkey Balls or Mock Orange.


They are used in households to repel spiders. Each Hedge apple lasts about 2-3 months for this.

I do not know of any cancer use and in doing research did not come across any reference to that use.

Human consumption is not recommended and the contact with skin could bring various issues from itching, etc

August 23, 20106 found this helpful
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We wait until they hit the ground. The thorns of the tree make it hard to actually pick them. They usually begin falling off in mid-September. We have two people we know of that have successfully used this for cancer treatment. The Amish suggested it first to a man with lymphoma. Another woman in Cartersville, GA has been told by her doctors that it is a miracle.


The doctors, of course, can't condone the use of a natural treatment because they might be held responsible if it doesn't work.

There are several pages on the Internet about the use of hedge apples for treating cancer.

August 28, 20104 found this helpful
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I became very interested in this topic because we had a patient that was eating the hedge apple because of what he heard from the Amish. He is now bleeding throughout his lungs and may not live. He did not tell anyone that he was using the hedge apple but it has messed up his clotting cascade and may not live. Feel it is very important for anyone to tell their doctor or family they are using it, in the event some problem arises. Please be careful.

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October 18, 2013

Do you cut the hedge apples in half before placing them around your house for pest control or leave them whole?

By Glenda from KS


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October 20, 20130 found this helpful
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You use them whole, but think long and hard before you do this! I did this as I don't like spiders and thought this method would be great as it doesn't involve chemicals.


Well, what ended up happening was a ton of gnats came to visit, drawn to the hedge apples. :-( I won't do this again.

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October 8, 2017

What is a hedge apple good for?


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October 9, 20173 found this helpful
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Here are some facts about the Hedge Apple tree:

  1. Most people call the yellow-green fruit Hedge Apples. The fruit is produced by the Osage-Orange.
  2. The trees are native to Eastern Texas, southwestern Arkansas, and southeastern Oklahoma.
  3. The trees are easy to transplant and do well in poor soil conditions.
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  5. It is used as a barrier for livestock and many people plant the Hedge Apple instead of using barbwire.
  6. The wood of the tree is very hard and is used to make fence posts, bows, furniture and wood nails.
  7. The fruit of the tree is dangerous and can become a dangerous weapon if eaten by small children. Many families won't plant this around their home if they have young children. The children try to eat the apples and they are harmful and dangerous.
  8. You can use the Hedge Apple tree around the foundation of your home as a pest control for cockroaches, spiders, crickets and other bugs that enter your home.
  9. The tree isn't suitable to use for landscaping because of the large green fruit and sticker or thorns on the tree. Many states such as southern Iowa are starting to band the trees in these areas.
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  11. The milky juice present in the stems of the plant can cause skin irritation.
  12. People suspect the fruit is poisonous to livestock, but it hasn't been proven yet.

Basically the tree is only good for planting around your home if you have a lot of insects that enter your home. I personally wouldn't plant this tree in my yard or close to my home because of the throns, milky sap, skin irritations, and a possibility of a small child eating this fruit on the tree.

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October 27, 2013

I want to put hedge apples in my basement to repel rodents, spiders, and other pests, but I don't know how many to place down there. Do I put them in groups or singly scatter? Do I need 5 or 50? We have a basement that is around 1000 square ft.

By ERK from eastern IA


September 30, 20151 found this helpful
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I cut up squares of pantyhose-they don't have to be big and cut the hedge apple in about an inch pieces, gather corner to corner and tie in knots. Place where you know spiders are, like behind doors, corners, out of reach of children and pets. They really work!

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May 28, 2019

I was told that hedge apples were good to use for cancer of the liver. Can people eat them?


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May 28, 20190 found this helpful

I would not eat them--period. I have heard people who do, but I have also heard most people get quite the upset stomach and some even have very serious allergic reactions if they eat them, plus the juice can cause skin and serious throat irritation, so this, to me, is an all around AVOID matter what the goal of using them is. Most animals don't even eat you know that must be a pretty good sign that it is not fit for consumption.

Please talk to a doctor about any cancer fears and things that are good to help. I will send up lots of prayers for you or whomever is suffering. Blessings!

July 11, 20192 found this helpful

These things couldn't possibly make people more sick than chemotherapy... just saying

September 10, 20194 found this helpful

Yes, yes u can but them in stores. They are dried and make into pills. Please do real research. I know someone who cured their skin cancer by rubbing it on the cancer site and another curing lung cancer..stage 4!!!!! Being close minded is just ignorance. Please do not Ill inform people unless u know 100% wout a doubt that your answer is correct. People could be saving their lives w this fruit. Smh. Research people! Don't just believe what ur told! Cattle died from injesting them due to suffocating by swallowing them whole. They are not poisonous!

September 16, 20190 found this helpful

They are sold on Amazon along with the powder

September 22, 20190 found this helpful

Wal-Mart carries them. Research is often best when dealing with hedge apples.

October 9, 20190 found this helpful

people get upset stomachs because the hedgeapple is cleaning out your digestive system. i have a few family members that have used it for cancer and a few other problems and it has helped them tremendously.

November 5, 20190 found this helpful


November 8, 20191 found this helpful

Was at grocery store last night(Wisconsin,)"hedgeballs $1.29 ea," well I'll be darn. I'm from the south(Texas), hedgeballs/horseapples are a sign of fall, cooler days ahead, I used them in fall decor. "Can't say I ever had roaches in my home."
Natural & organic, what a pleasant surprise to see this ate a grocery store.

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June 27, 2016

Can you freeze hedge apples to use at a later date?


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July 7, 20170 found this helpful

I guess my answer is why would you want to?? In my region they are a nuisance. They can be poisonous to horses and cattle. I would not want them in my freezer where I keep food. If hit with the mower, they can ruin the blades. They are not edible. Some say that they keep away spiders, but only certain types.

September 22, 20190 found this helpful

Winter is almost here Hedge Apples are just being put out what about summer

October 31, 20190 found this helpful

Sounds like u don't even know anything about hedge apples

November 16, 20190 found this helpful

Yes they are edible

December 1, 20210 found this helpful

They are not poisonous to horses. My horses loved them as a treat n my squirrels also loved them. People have been eating these by freezing or dehydrating them for medicinal use.

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July 4, 2013

Is a crab apple the same thing as a hedge apple? I noticed in one of the comments someone mentioned crab apple. As a youngster in south Mississippi I remember crab apples. I want to remember that kids ate them, but I may be remembering wrong.

By Betty


November 3, 20131 found this helpful

They are not the same. Crab apples literally look like tiny apples on a tree. The hedge apples are big and greenish in color.

October 18, 20160 found this helpful

Crab apples are NOT the same. I make jelly from crab apples every year. Yes, it does require a lot of sugar. Its the only jelly my grandson will eat.

November 27, 20170 found this helpful

Crab apples are small apples about the size of a 50 cent piece and tart you can make jelly from them.
Hedge apples are the size of a grapefruit greenish yellow in color. And resembles cauliflower.

October 9, 20180 found this helpful

Crab apples are about the size of cherries. We had them up in Ohio when I was little.

April 29, 20200 found this helpful

If you ask me, the fruit off this Osage Orange looks almost the same as a Sycamore Tree "Fruit."

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September 25, 2019

I was told these could be used daily to treat COPD. Can this be possible or is this something to avoid? I am just looking for a cure.


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September 26, 20190 found this helpful

I dont think there is any truth to this. You can contact the Lancaster County Cooperative Extension here


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September 26, 20190 found this helpful

Hedge Apples- are good for around your foundation/basement of your home to get rid of pest like,roaches,spiders,and other crawlers,Careful!


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September 27, 20190 found this helpful

If you have a doctor who knows about homeopathic treatments, I would ask. I would not go down the path of trying them just based on internet reports and comments on social media.

While they are not poisonous in small quantities, in large quantities they can cause issues like gastric distress and some people have allergies to them. Add to that I am told they taste HORRIBLE. You don't see them in most stores being sold in the food section for those reasons. You sometimes see them sold for pest supposedly spiders and other creepy crawlies are repelled by the scent.

There are many new treatments and good existing treatments to manage COPD. Your doctor should work with you to find something that keeps your situation in control as best as possible.

Sending prayers for healing.


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September 27, 20190 found this helpful

I do not think this is a safe treatment at all and can be very dangerous for your health. I would not try this. I know my mom eneded up with COPD and she never smoked a day in her life. I believe she got it when she was in the hospital from a chest infection she was being treated for. I know this is bad and I would go with other natural herb treatments and stay away from hedge apples all together.

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September 12, 2016

I know I read that hedge apples last 2 to 3 mo., how can you make them last all year?


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February 19, 20171 found this helpful

I read somewhere that if you do not cut them, they will not rot. They will merely dry up. Some people also freeze them. Drying any kind of fruit, whether in the sun or with a dehydrator, will also preserve it.

I did not know about this fascinating fruit. Apparently it repels insects, mice, etc. I will have to be on the lookout for this now.


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February 21, 20170 found this helpful

You can freeze them or dry them whole. Don't cut them or they will rot.

February 4, 20200 found this helpful

My forward thinking parents built a treehouse in our giant Osage Orange, also called a Beaudarc (pronounced BOW dark) tree. It was an old tree so it had no thorns. It sure had a crop of horse apples. It was far from our house, only threatening the back fence and cows. I have heard the poisonous story, but I never knew of any cow that died from eating one. I have never heard of anti carcinogenic claims, I would like to see more evidence on this claim! They are stinky, extremely hard, sticky when cut, and smelled resinous, like pine tar, and frankly smelled awful to us as kids, I honestly would never consider eating one at any age! Yuk! The only use we found for them was in civil war reenactments in the back yard! They are as big and nearly as heavy as a cannonball. There is a saying in Texas, when you are skeptical about a belief, "well I think it's horse apples." It is the equivalent of saying that you think it is snake oil being sold to you.

April 26, 20200 found this helpful

Hedge apples are very good to repel roaches!

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14 Solutions

This page contains the following solutions.

April 13, 2009

There are no chemicals involved so I guess it's a green tip. If you have a problem with roaches, ants, mice, or other pests inside the house, gather some crab apples and place them around your basement, crawl space, and foundation of your house. My in-laws have done this for years and haven't even seen a trace of a pest or rodent.

By Tammy from Cookeville, TN

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May 4, 2016

This is a page about using hedge apples to repel spiders. Hedge apples have a long standing reputation as a spider repellent.

Whole and sliced Hedge Apples (Maclura pomifera) also known as Osage Oranges against a white background

November 29, 2017

This is a page about whether you can eat hedge apples. Hedge apples are generally not considered edible. The juice inside the fruit and stem is a skin irritant. They do however make an interesting addition to home decor.


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 10, 2010

Does anyone have any ideas for Hedge Apples? I picked a bunch from some trees in the country. I've heard they will repel spiders. Any craft ideas? Are they poisonous? Excited to find out.


Sharon from Stockham, NE


What are hedge apples good for?

Also known as OSAGE ORANGE. (10/13/2008)

By Diana

What Are Hedge Apples Good For?

I love the color and texture of hedge apples and want a few to put in a bowl or basket for decoration. I didn't know deer fed on them - that's a new one, but I knew they rot. (10/13/2008)

By melody_yesterday

What Are Hedge Apples Good For?

I've learned at the University of Washington Burke Museum site and elsewhere, that neither osage orange nor horse chestnuts can 'repel' spiders, which have no sense of smell anyway. The spiders in houses were nearly all born there. (10/13/2008)

By P

What Are Hedge Apples Good For?

They are really not good for much of anything. They are inedible for humans. Not poisonous, but so fibrous that they can clog the throat and cause choking. The "juice" is irritating to the skin of some people and can cause burning and itching.

I tried slicing some and drying them in the oven for using in natural dried flower arrangements. I have to agree it is not worth the trouble. On the other hand, I like the bright green color and interesting texture. To maybe put in a bright orange bowl for a temporary, unusual centerpiece. (10/13/2008)

What Are Hedge Apples Good For?

Well, they've always helped keep the spider population in my house almost non-existent. When we moved in, over three years ago, I had constantly battled daddy-long legs in the basement. After three years of placing hedge apples around the basement every fall, I rarely see a spider. They work for me! (10/14/2008)

What Are Hedge Apples Good For?

They do repel spiders BUT when they start turning brown you need to throw them away because they start smelling worse than a skunk spraying. (10/14/2008)

By carolcoen

What Are Hedge Apples Good For?

I know the wood from the tree is sometimes used in making bows. (10/22/2008)

By Barb

What Are Hedge Apples Good For?

This will come as a major surprise to the medical community, but I have personal knowledge that the hedge-apple is an alternative cancer treatment. I personally know 3 people who are now cancer free after using 1 teaspoon per day for only 1 month. It isn't poisonous. In my opinion, it's a miracle from GOD. (11/07/2008)

By Judy M.

What Are Hedge Apples Good For?

I just heard about them stopping cancer, too. A friend personally knows 3 people who had 3 different types of cancer - all cured. One was skin cancer so they rubbed the hedge apple on their skin. And yes, they make excellent bows. My father has carved many, many bows from the wood. He calls them bowdark trees. (12/14/2008)

By anne

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October 13, 2008

Does anyone know what Hedge Apples are good for? I thought they were a spider deterrent?

Mary from LeRoy, IL


What are hedge apples good for?

Mostly they are good to feed squirrels and other wild animals. Deer will eat them if they are starving.
There are some that swear by them as bug deterrents, but it takes a lot of them. They get in the way, and as they are an organic material, they will rot. Kids like to throw them at each other.

I saw a craft once using sliced hedge apples that were dried then painted, but it was hard to cut them and they weren't pretty enough to go to the trouble. (09/28/2006)

By Carla B

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