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Nyssa sylvatica - Tupelo / Black Gum Tree

Nyssa sylvatica, also known as tupelo or the Black Gum Tree is a ornamental conical slow growing medium sized tree with horizontal branches. It foliage is oval, not unlike beech, changing from green to a fiery red/purple in autumn.

It’s bark is dark grey and flaky when young but becomes furrowed with age. It is a hardy specimen and whilst preferring moist fertile well drained soil it does have the ability to grow in standing water.

It is of particular environmental value for as well as producing black-blue ovoid fruit about 10mm long with thin oily, bitter/sour tasting flesh being very popular with small birds it’s flowers which are produced in greenish-white clusters at the top of a long stalk, produce nectar which attracts bees and other insects.

FACT: In Marthas Vineyard in America, this species is called “beetlebung”, possibly due to its use in making the mallet known as a beetle, used for hammeting the bungs (stoppers) into wine barrels.

Plant Profile

Name: Nyssa sylvatica

Common Name: Tupelo / Black Gum Tree

Family: Nyssaceae

Height: Can grow to above 12 metres

Width: Can grow wider than 8 metres

Demands: Works well in a sheltered non north facing aspect, prefers full sun / partial shade

Soil: Moist Loan, Clay or Sand

Foliage: Deciduous

Fruits: Small dull black-blue fruits

Nyssa sylvatica info sheet

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