Trees With Large Fruits in the Fall

As the leaves fall, it is easy to see the large fruits of several trees in our area that have reportedly lost their primary seed dispersers.  When you look at fruits from hedge-apple, honey-locust and Kentucky coffee tree, you might wonder what animal is big enough to eat these.

Lots of hedge-apple fruits on the ground

Lots of hedge-apple fruits on the ground

 

Hedge-apple fruit the size of a large grapefruit.  Kids like the name monkey brains.

Hedge-apple fruit the size of a large grapefruit. Kids like the name monkey brains

Osage-orange, aka hedge-apple on the campus tree walk behind Gallahue Hall at Butler.  See large green fruit on the top of the tree

Osage-orange, aka hedge-apple on the campus tree walk behind Gallahue Hall at Butler. See large green fruit on the top of the tree

It is thought mastodons and other large, now extinct mammals ate these fruits, helping to spread the trees around.  The three trees also are somewhat unusual in having separate male and female trees.

Legume fruits of Honey locust with a quarter and the tip of my shoe for scale

Legume fruits of Honey locust with a quarter and the tip of my shoe for scale

Honey locust tree in the Clowes Hall lot at Butler University with large fruits

Honey locust tree in the Clowes Hall lot at Butler University with large fruits

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