Nyssa sylvatica, Black Gum, Black Tupelo

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Found in a variety of sites from creek bottoms to upland slopes in eastern North America, Black Gum is noted for its beautiful yellow to orange to scarlet fall foliage.  Bees make a flavorful honey from the nectar-rich flowers, while many birds and mammals enjoy the juicy fruit.

Print Version: Nyssa sylvatica, Black Gum, Black Tupelo

Nyssa sylvatica, Black Gum, Black Tupelo  Tree, Height: 30–75 feet, Spread: 20–50 feet, Bloom Color: Greenish white, Medium-sized, deciduous tree with straight trunk and dense rounded crown, Dioecious: separate male and female plants, Glossy, oval, simple leaves, 2- to 5-inches long, Light green flower clusters—dense heads on male trees; sparse female clusters—from April to June, Bluish fruits in September and October, Impressive red fall foliage, Gray furrowed bark turns black and alligator hidelike as tree ages; limbs often at right angles to trunk, Tolerates clay, wet soil, and some drought, No serious pests or diseases; deer rarely damage but may browse on twigs and foliage, Flowers attract bees; larval host of several moth species; fruits attract birds and other wildlife; cavities provide dens and nesting habitat, Soil Requirements: Well-drained, acidic, Light Requirements: Full Sun, Partial Shade, Water Requirements: Moist, Wet, Use for lawn, street, rain garden, or erosion contro, Hardiness: USDA Zones 3–9, Excellent Replacement for Acer platanoides - Norway Maple, Broussonetia papyrifera - Paper Mulberry, Melia azedarach - Chinaberrry, Morus alba - White Mulberry

Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets


Tags: Tree, Height: 30–75 feet, Spread: 20–50 feet, Bloom Color: Greenish white, Medium-sized, deciduous tree with straight trunk and dense rounded crown, Dioecious: separate male and female plants, Glossy, oval, simple leaves, 2- to 5-inches long, Light green flower clusters—dense heads on male trees; sparse female clusters—from April to June, Bluish fruits in September and October, Impressive red fall foliage, Gray furrowed bark turns black and alligator hidelike as tree ages; limbs often at right angles to trunk, Tolerates clay, wet soil, and some drought, No serious pests or diseases; deer rarely damage but may browse on twigs and foliage, Flowers attract bees; larval host of several moth species; fruits attract birds and other wildlife; cavities provide dens and nesting habitat, Soil Requirements: Well-drained, acidic, Light Requirements: Full Sun, Partial Shade, Water Requirements: Moist, Wet, Use for lawn, street, rain garden, or erosion contro, Hardiness: USDA Zones 3–9, Excellent Replacement for Acer platanoides – Norway Maple, Broussonetia papyrifera – Paper Mulberry, Melia azedarach – Chinaberrry, Morus alba – White Mulberry

One Response to Nyssa sylvatica, Black Gum, Black Tupelo

  1. Pingback: TREE: Nyssa sylvatica (Black Gum) | Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia

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