Black gum trees have moderate growth rate and longevity and are an excellent food source for wildlife, fine honey trees, and handsome ornamentals. Black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica) is divided into two commonly recognized varieties, typical black tupelo (var. sylvatica) and swamp tupelo (var. biflora). They are usually identifiable by their differences in habitats: black tupelo on light-textured soils of uplands and stream bottoms, swamp tupelo on heavy organic or clay soils of wet bottom lands.