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Black Gum

Nyssa sylvatica

Other common name(s):

Tupelo, Blackgum, Black Tupelo, Sourgum, Pepperidge, Tupelo Gum, Beetlebung

Family:

Nyssaceae (Tupelo Family)

Plant Ecoregion Distribution Map

East Central Texas Plains, Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes, Western Gulf Coastal Plain
Bastrop Lost Pines, Floodplains and Low Terraces2, Northern Post Oak Savanna, Northern Prairie Outliers, San Antonio Prairie, Southern Post Oak Savanna
Northern Humid Gulf Coastal Prairies, Texas-Louisiana Coastal Marshes
Flatwoods, Floodplains and Low Terraces3, Pleistocene Fluvial Terraces, Red River Bottomlands, Southern Tertiary Uplands, Tertiary Uplands

Plant Characteristics

Growth Form

Tree

Height

75
to
100
ft.

Spread

40
to
70
ft.

Leaf Retention

Deciduous

Lifespan

Perennial

Habitat and Care Requirements

Soil Type(s)

Sand, Acid, Poor Drainage, Moist

Light Requirement

Sun, Shade

Water Requirement

Medium

Native Habitat

Woodland, Wetland or Riparian

Bloom and Attraction

Bloom Color

White, Green, Brown

Bloom Season

Spring

Seasonal Interest

Fruit, Fall Color, Nectar

Wildlife Benefit

Birds, Small Mammals, Bees

Maintenance

This species tolerates drier soils than other species of Black Gum. Slow growing. Prune for shape or to raise canopy. Older trees subject to insect and disease problems. Move or remove up to 4″ caliper trees in the spring before onset of growth. Propagation: Seed.

Comments

Blooms April-June. An attractive, slow growing tree with a conical or flat topped shape. The leaves are glossy, turning bright fall colors in cooler regions and less so in warmer areas. Known as a honey plant, the blue/black fruits are readily eaten by birds and animals. Transplants poorly due to fleshy, non-fibrous root system. Usually found in moist areas and bottomlands. Pollination: bees, attracts birds and small mammals.
Previous Scientific Name(s): Synonym/s: Nyssa sylvatica var. caroliniana, Nyssa sylvatica var. dilatata, Nyssa sylvatica var. typica

References

1) Griffith, Bryce, Omernick & Rodgers (2007). Ecoregions of Texas. 2) Wasowski and Wasowski, Native Texas Plants Landscaping Region by Region, 1991, pg. 336. 3) https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=NYSY. 4) https://portal.torcherbaria.org/portal/taxa/index.php?taxon=Nyssa+sylvatica&formsubmit=Search+Terms. 5) http://bonap.net/TDC/Image/Map?taxonType=Species&taxonId=15460&locationType=County&mapType=Normal. 6) https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=27821#null