"Monkey brain" tree is Osage Orange

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
The Osage Orange tree with a broken branch hanging over Leitersburg Street was cut down last week. A piece of the tree's fruit was strategically placed on the downed trunk for photographic purposes.

The tree hanging over Leitersburg Street from Greencastle-Antrim School District property was incorrectly identified as Sweetgum last week. The Penn State Master Gardener thought that could be the species, based on a description over the phone.

Two readers notified the Echo Pilot that they thought the tree was actually Osage Orange. A mature stand of trees lines the streambed at Tayamentasachta. The fruit is spherical and bumpy, and contains a sticky white sap.

Before the days of synthetic insecticides, people put the orange under the bed to repel spiders and insects. Scientific studies have found that the remedy is effective.

Kerri Barnes, director of Tayamentasachta, said for as long as she can remember, schoolchildren have called the fruit "monkey brains".

The tree was cut down last week, so motorists no longer get to smash the balls.