Bow-wood tree, bodark, hedge apple, Maclura pomifera
John Dunn Hunter, a leader of the Cherokees was a white man, who was captured by Indians as a toddler. He's an interesting person, but this is a tree blog, not a history blog, so you'll have to read more about him elsewhere if you are interested.
Here's John Dunn Hunter's description of the Osage orange tree, a native tree of Texas and Oklahoma, as he wrote it in the early 1800's:
...I shall close this subject with a few observations on the Osage orange, or bow-wood tree, which I have previously mentioned, but of which very little appears to be known. It is found in abundance on the St. Francis, White, and some parts of the Arkansas, Vermillion, Canadian, and Osage rivers; and there are a few scattering ones on the Kansas; I do not recollect to have seen them farther north, though they may exist on the Missouri, and in many other places, without my knowledge. The tree delights in a fertile, and rather dry soil, and attains to the height of from fifteen to thirty feet, with a trunk proportionally large.
In May or June, the male, or tree not bearing fruit, is covered with numerous pale yellow flowers, which expand in nearly the same manner as those of the dogwood (Cornus Florida), though they are not so large. The fruit ripens in the fore part of the fall; is also of a pale yellow colour, spheroidal shaped, and about the size of a large hen's egg. It is slightly pulpy, and acid, and by many of the Indians esteemed as an agreeable esculent. The rind, when wounded, especially before ripe, emits a milky juice, much resembling that of the silk plant (Asclepius syriaca).
When solitary, or on the prairies, it is usually barren; but its branches become more expanded, the colour of the foliage of a richer green, and its top assumes a rounded and beautiful appearance. The wood is coarse grained, of a deep yellow colour, and is held in high estimation by the Indians, on account of its great elastic properties. They manufacture it into bows, which become articles of commerce, and are sometimes exchanged for peltries, &c. I knew a Sioux to give his horse for a single one; and among the upper tribes they frequently bring three or four beaver skins each. This tree is so highly valued, that they never destroy it, except when wanted for use, or in the territories of their enemies; in the latter case, they make its destruction as particular an object, as they do that of their game. It probably would afford a beautiful yellow dye, and to a certainty, add a rich variety to inlaid cabinet furniture.
The tree is hardy, and would probably flourish in any part of the United States, between the parallel latitudes of 30° and 40°, and perhaps still farther north. It appears, both for utility and ornament, to hold out sufficient inducements to warrant particular attention to its cultivation.
From Memoirs of a Captivity Among the Indians of North America by John Dunn Hunter; 3rd edition, pp172-174. (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Ohme, Brown, & Green, 1824.)
Related site: Building the Osage Bow