An old Southern favorite, native from Arkansas to Oklahoma and Texas. Fast growth to 60 feet tall and 40 feet wide (though often smaller), with spreading, open habit. Orange-brown, fissured bark. Wood is very hard, orange in color, and highly resistant to rot. Glossy, medium green leaves are oval and pointed, to 5 inches long. Young branches are thorny, mature ones less so. If a male tree is present, female trees may bear inedible, 4 inches-wide fruit that resembles bumpy, yellow-green oranges and is prized for holiday decorations.
Withstands heat, cold, wind, and almost any kind of soilacid or alkaline, wet or dry, fertile or terrible. Easy to transplant; easy to propagate by seed or cuttings. Makes a good windbreak or informal screen and is often planted in hedgerows. If people will be walking or sitting beneath the tree, always plant a male selection: A heavy, hard fruit falling from a high branch can knock a person silly. Two thornless male selections are worth seeking out. 'White Shield' features beautiful, lustrous, dark green leaves and grows especially rapidly, up to 5 feet per year. 'Wichita' forms an upright, spreading tree with a dense canopy.