We all know that Kryptonite can take Superman’s powers away, but did you know that a common fruit may be able to repel Spiderman?
This time of year, along country roads, fence rows, and even sometimes in the middle of neighborhoods or parks, you can see a tree that has what appears to be large green apples on them. Upon closer inspection, the apples really aren’t apples but are fruits that are spherical in shape with bumpy skin like that of an exaggerated orange. These are the fruits of the Osage Orange tree.
Sometimes called “horse apples trees” or “hedge apple trees” these trees are native to Eastern Texas and Southeastern Oklahoma, and Southwestern Arkansas where the Osage Indian tribe made its home and how the tree got its name. Over the years, these trees have been transplanted many places, including Ohio.
An old wives’ tale goes that the fruit of the Osage Orange placed around the foundation of a house or in the basement will repel spiders and keep those that fear them much happier. The scientists at Iowa State University decided to investigate this and low and behold, they found that the fruit contains a compound that when concentrated, repelled spiders. Their conclusion was that the normal concentration found in the horse apple was too low to be effective, but that there was some truth to the tale and old wives everywhere were vindicated!
Upon reading this, I’m sure that the Green Goblin is at this moment devising a dastardly plan to use the Osage Orange to obliterate Spiderman. I just hope that the average reader with arachnophobia may also take some comfort in knowing that the common Horse Apple could be your best friend.
So, while Iowa scientists are the true authorities on corn and corn related research, when it comes to spiders and ancient truths, I trust old wives.