PITTSBURGH — A heart-stopping moment the other day was all thanks to a weird-looking fruit that used to feed woolly mammoths tens of thousands of years ago, and it can still be found around Pittsburgh.
According to a recent report from The Incline, yinzers commonly refer to them as monkey balls. The tree they come from is officially called the maclura pomifera. Other nicknames include osage orange, hedge apple, horse apple, bow wood, yellow wood or monkey brain tree.
The fruits, or monkey balls, typically weigh between 1 and 5 pounds and are usually the size of a baseball. Only the female trees produce fruit, according to The Incline. The fruits are not edible for humans and are basically a ball of latex with white, sticky glue. Some people swear they can be used for pest control.
Mammoths reportedly swallowed the fruit whole. Fast-forward several thousand years, and the trees were used for a time as natural fences, helping them spread to places like Pennsylvania.
Cox Media Group