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Nyssa sylvatica


Blackgum or black tupelo is oftentimes (but not always) associated with wet areas as is suggested by its latin genus name Nyssa, the name for a Greek mythological water sprite. The Creek Indian word for "swamp tree" is eto opelwu. Southern bee-keepers prize the tree's nectar and sell tupelo honey for a premium. The tree is showy in fall with brilliant red leaves ornamented with blue fruit on female trees.

Blackgum plate blackgum leaf blackgum bark
Photos by Steve Nix

Start with the Tree Finder if you are not sure what kind of tree you have!

Range Map
-The native range of blackgum, USFS.
-The native range of blackgum, USFS.

Blackgum Habitat and Culture
(silvics courtesy of Silvics Manual, Northeast S&PF, USFS)

From Virginia Tech w/Photos
(Big List courtesy of VT Dendrology)

North American Timber Types
(courtesy About Forestry)

The Great American Hardwood Forest
(courtesy About Forestry)

Recent Champion: 78' height, 64' spread, 185" circumf., Franklin Township, New Jersey

Quick Stats
Common Names: blackgum, sourgum, pepperidge, tupelo, and tupelogum

Habitat: uplands and in alluvial stream bottoms

Description: It has a swollen base that tapers to a long, clear bole and often occurs in pure stands

Uses: commercial timber used for furniture and crates, honey tree

Image Image1
(images courtesy of Steve Nix and About.com)

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