This and That at the 1803 House

Fruit around the Christmas Tree

For the Christmas Holidays colonialists decorated their homes with fruit. In the picture to the right, what is the green round fruit that surrounds Christmas Tree.  And the answer is...the Osage Orange is surrounding the tree.  The Osage orange tree and the green fruits which were eaten by the prehistoric Giant Sloth. When the Sloths became extinct a long, long time ago, so did the Osage Orange Tree.  But fate and some very ambitious Indians interceded and the Osage orange tree became the most planted tree of the 19th century. The Indians used the tree's wood to make bows since it was very strong, flexible, durable and did not rot.  The wood shavings were also used to make golden yellow or mossy green dyes.  The branches were thorny and the animals did not want to tangle with it.  So, the colonists planted the tree around their house for protection.  The fruit however, was not eaten by any animal or human, so the colonists used it for decorations.

   

Fruit Used as Holiday Decorations

The Moravians also used fruit to decorate their wreaths, window sills and mantels...