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Decorating with Brains

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Did I get your attention? Sorry, I just couldn't resist! When I was a little girl, we called them "brains". We would gather them into huge piles and either throw them into the woods or throw them at each other.

I know what you are probably thinking, "That must have hurt!" It did but it never slowed us down. Still don't know what I am talking about? I am fondly remembering the grapefruit sized, green, brain-like fruit that my siblings and I used to collect by the dozens each fall.

I ended up having two boys and when they were little they did the same thing I did years earlier; they threw them at each other. Of course I yelled words of caution but it never slowed them down either. Around that time I started to collect the "brains" and used them for fall decorations in my house. They have a pleasant smell and they are said to act as a natural insect repellant, although I am not sure if this is a proven fact.

I would gather several of them and place them into a carved wooden bowl or a natural looking basket. Next came the fun part, gathering the other things to go into my display. It varied each year but I would take a walk and collect natural grasses, colorful leaves or whatever captured my fancy. I would bring my "loot" home and create a unique looking arrangement each time.

They even look great by themselves too. One year I dumped an armload of them into a wooden crate and placed it next to my front door for a colorful fall display.

Fall has always been my favorite season, and collecting my next batch of "brains" is something I always look forward to. Several days ago while I was out gathering some, it occurred to me that I didn't even know the real name of these funny looking green orbs. After a little bit of searching I discovered they are called Hedgeapples and these non-edible, non-poisonous fruits come from a tree called the Osage Orange Tree.

As you read this article, you are either shaking your head saying, "Oh yeah, I know what she is talking about." or quite possibly you have never seen a hedgeapple in your life. If you are curious and would like to see a picture, please visit me at

This fall collect a few "brains" and create a beautiful fall display of your own!

Candee Stark is a Reading Specialist in a local elementary school and has spent the last two and a half years earning her masters degree. Her new passion is her indoor herb garden. Visit her at Flowers and if you would like to read more gardening and flower articles.

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