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Nyssa sylvatica

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Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Trees, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist, wet

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, average, poor, loam, clay, sand, gravel/rock

Height: 30'-80'

Bloom Time: April, May, June

Bloom Color: white, green

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: attracts bees, attracts birds, berries, bog plant, drought tolerant, fall interest, pond margin plant, shade tree, stream margin plant, swamp plant

Nyssa sylvatica (blackgum)
  • Nyssa sylvatica (blackgum)
  • Nyssa sylvatica (blackgum)
  • Nyssa sylvatica (blackgum)
  • Nyssa sylvatica (blackgum)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Nyssa sylvatica

Also known as:

blackgum

,

sourgum

,

pepperidge

,

tupelo

,

tupelo gum

,

black tupelo

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Blackgum is a slow growing, deciduous, stately shade tree that can reach heights of 80' or more and up to 4' in diameter. Its shape may vary from conical to pyramidal with a straight trunk and horizontal limbs. The green, leathery leaves are oblong and alternate. They turn spectacular shades of yellow to deep crimson in fall. The color change is less pronounced in the south. The whitish, greenish flowers are unremarkable but provide a good nectar source for honey bees. It produces oval, 1/2" long dark blue fruit that remain sour even when ripe, hence the common name sourgum.

Cultivation

Native to the eastern U.S. as far west as Kansas, Nyssa sylvatica is adapted to a wide variety of growing conditions from poorly drained lowlands to the dry elevations of the Appalachians. Its tap root makes it drought resistant once establish, but difficult to transplant. Great for urban and naturalized settings alike. Make sure to give it ample room to grow. Bloom times vary, depending on geographic location, from April to June. Zones 5-8

Propagation

Propagate from seeds that have been stripped of pulp. Sow in a moist location sheltered from direct sun. Because of the difficulty in transplanting blackgum, it is best to start them in a permanent location or in containers.

Additional Notes

Blackgum fruit are relished by forest animals large and small, from black bears, deer and foxes, to a wide variety of birds.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Cornales
Family Cornaceae Dogwood family
Genus Nyssa tupelo
Species Nyssa sylvatica blackgum