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Water Tupelo, A Common Tree in North America

Nyssa aquatica, One of the Most Common North American Trees

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Water tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), also called cottongum, sourgum, swamp tupelo, tupelo-gum, and water-gum, is a large, long-lived tree that grows in southern swamps and flood plains where its root system is periodically under water. It has a swollen base that tapers to a long, clear bole and often occurs in pure stands. A good mature tree will produce commercial timber used for furniture and crates. Many kinds of wildlife eat the fruits and it is a favored honey tree.

1. The Silviculture of Water Tupelo

Tupelo contains about 5 species native to the United States [3] and eastern Asia [2]. Tupelo trees reach heights of 100 feet, with a diameter of over 3 feet. The sapwood of Tupelo is a light gray brown, while the heartwood is darker. It has interlocked grain, with a natural tendency to warp when dries, especially when flat sawn. It shows a characteristic figure when quartersawn. It has no characteristic odor or taste. It is moderately strong, but difficult to glue.

2. The Images of Water Tupelo

Forestryimages.org provides several images of parts of water tupelo. The tree is a hardwood and the lineal taxonomy is Magnoliopsida > Cornales > Nyssaceae > Nyssa aquatica L. Water tupelo is also sometimes called cottongum, sourgum, swamp tupelo, tupelo-gum, and water-gum.

3. The Range of Water Tupelo

Range of Water Tupelo
USFS
Water tupelo grows throughout the Coastal Plain from southeastern Virginia to southern Georgia, and from northwestern Florida along the Gulf of Mexico to southeastern Texas. It extends up the Mississippi River Valley as far north as the southern tip of Illinois.

4. Water Tupelo at Virginia Tech

Leaf: Alternate, simple, pinnately veined, 4 to 8 inches long, oblong to obovate, entire margin but may have a few large teeth.
Twig: Stout, yellow-brown to red-brown, large heart-shaped leaf scar, buds small, pith diaphragmed, spur shoots common.

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