Bois d'arc or Osage orange tree in late fall. Its fruits are inedible to humans and most animals but horses love them, hence the name "horse apple." According to evolutionary biologists, only a small relic population of Bois d'arc trees survived after the end of the last Ice Age. The tree does not compete well with other trees and it needs large herbivores like horses or mammoths to spread the seeds. When Europeans reintroduced horses to North America in the 16th century, the tree spread quickly aided by farming practices. Photograph by Frank Schambach.
Close Window