The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Photo credit: Nick Shockey /
A letter from the editor
February 6, 2024

Are those alien brains?

Maclura pomifera fuit comes from a tree that produces both male and female flowers. It can be found on City College campus. JD Villanueva | [email protected]

Students who have passed or walked over the grassy area near Rodda Hall North have most likely noticed weird fruits resembling brains on the ground.

These same students may have also noticed people picking them up or even crushing them until lime-green fluid oozes out.

Sitting around the trees, constant questions about what these fruits are and why they are growing on the City College campus can be heard.

“What are those things?” And to that question, a very common answer: “I don’t know!”

Inquisitive students can come up with several different theories on what they are over the course of a mere 15 minutes while waiting for a class to start. Among the theories are anything from brains to mutated grapefruits.

As exciting as an alien brain could be, according to Wikipedia, the tree producing these fruits is very much of the earthly type, and it is closely related to the mulberry. Maclura pomifera has many different names including, hedgeapple, horseapple, bois d’arc, bodark, bodock or Osage orange, although it is not related to oranges.

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Many people passing by question whether the fruits are edible. According to experts, they can be eaten, but it is not recommended.

Although it’s not considered highly toxic, eating the fruit could set someone in for a long day with their face near the toilet since it’s known to induce vomit.

Squirrels can be seen eating them, but they are immune to the fruit’s toxins because they have mastered the art of extracting the seeds.

Though this fruit is not suitable for eating, there is another use for it. Maclura pomifera fruits are believed to be a great insect repellent in some cases. Studies have shown that it can be as effective as DEET, which is the most common active ingredient in insect repellents.

“I always see them in the ground,” says business student Emily Castro. “Sometimes people kick them around. Once I took one home and I opened it up, but it was just so sticky and scary that I decided to not even try and figure out what it was and just threw it away.”

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