Nyssa sylvatica, Black Gum, G5
Mayflowers Nursery & Garden Center

Nyssa sylvatica, Black Gum, G5

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Tree with a dense, conical or sometimes flat-topped crown, many slender, nearly horizontal branches, and glossy foliage turning scarlet in autumn. An attractive, variable-shaped deciduous tree, black tupelo grows 30-60 ft. or taller, with horizontally spreading branches. A bottle-shaped trunk forms if grown in shallow standing water. Smooth, waxy, dark-green summer foliage changes to fluorescent yellow, orange, scarlet and purple in fall. (Trees in warmer climates may not be as colorful.) Berries are small and blue.

A handsome ornamental and shade tree, Black Tupelo is also a honey plant. The juicy fruit is consumed by many birds and mammals. This species tolerates drier soils than N. aquatica but also tolerates poor drainage. Swamp Tupelo (N. biflora Walter), a species with narrower oblong leaves, occurs in swamps in the Coastal Plain from Delaware to eastern Texas.