Nyssa sylvatica Black Tupelo (Black Gum), Nyssa sylvatica, one of the most attractive native trees around. Tupelo is a favored wood for wildfowl carvings. The fruit of the black tupelo attracts many birds and wildlife. Other Common Names/Trade Names: Black gum Scientific Name: Nyssa sylvatica Best Characteristics for Identification: General lack of distinguishing characteristics . The Arbor Day Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization. In Appalachia, the frequent variant is Nyssa sylvatica var. Young trees are pyramidal; older trees more oval. Summer leaves are a dark green with a high-gloss appearance, but the most spectacular part of this tree is the fall foliage with many shades of yellow, orange, bright red, purple or scarlet that may appear on the same branch. Tupelo Family (Nyssaceae) Introduction: From waxy spring foliage and brilliant fall color to beautiful winter form, the black gum shows great ornamental value. Louisiana Plant ID is an online resource for images and descrptions of Louisiana plants and ecosystems. It also occurs locally in central and southern Mexico. Sweet Gum ; Tulip Tree .  Both of these names contrast it with a different tree species with a broadly overlapping range, the sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), which does produce an aromatic resin. It commonly grows in both the creek bottoms of the southern coastal plains, to altitudes of about 900 meters (3,000 feet) in the Southern Appalachians. I Am the Largest! In September, its dark green foliage gives way to intense red fall color with hues of orange, yellow, and purple, which makes it a wonderful selection for home landscapes. Comments: The name tupelo is of Native American origin, coming from the Muskogee words ito (tree) and opilwa (swamp). Young trees tend to be somewhat pyramidal in shape and eventually may form a conical or oval-shaped crown as they mature.  The wood is also used for pallets, rough floors, pulpwood, and firewood. It has unique, thick bark that is arranged in six-sided plates. But really, what's not to love? They are a valuable energy food for birds, especially the American robin. There are 2 other species in the genus native to South Eastern US, they are the Ogeechee Lime ( Nyssa ogeche ) and Water Tupelo ( Nyssa aquatica ), This article primarily focuses on Nyssa silvatica but many points could apply to either of the other species. They are sometimes eaten raw, but humans tend to put them in juice, preservatives, or pies! Identification Comments General Description. The trunks often die from the top, giving its crown a scraggly appearance. Black Gum Tree Leaf Identification The following are some black gum or sour gum tree facts. The black gum tree, also referred to as the black tupelo or sour gum, is slow growing and has a pleasing rounded form when it is lush with foliage in the spring as well as when its branches are bare in the winter. Its early color change (foliar fruit flagging) is thought to attract birds to the available fruit, which ripen before many other fall fruits and berries. The leaves of this species are variable in size and shape. Nyssa sylvatica is cultivated as an ornamental tree in parks and large gardens, where it is often used as a specimen or shade tree. Wood: Pale yellow, sapwood white; heavy, strong, very tough, hard to split, not durable in contact with the soil. The largest recorded black tupelo tree is 144 feet tall and has a crown spread of 95 feet.. The black tupelo grows well in in acidic, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, silty loam and well-drained soils. The fruit is a black-blue, ovoid stone fruit, about 10 mm long with a thin, oily, bitter-to-sour tasting flesh and very popular with small bird species, particularly the American robin. The dark green glossy summer foliage takes center stage in fall when the leaves turn bright scarlet. American Beech : Red Maple . They usually have a 1.5-foot to 3-foot (45 cm. The trunks often die from the top, giving its crown a scraggly appearance. Blackgum or tupelo trees (missing the “swamp” in front of their common name—aka Nyssa sylvatica) are actually excellent landscape trees that can thrive in home landscapes. Polygamodiœcious, yellowish green, borne on slender downy peduncles. , Nyssa sylvatica is a major source of wild honey in many areas within its range. The twigs of this tree are reddish-brown, usually hidden by a greyish skin. 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