Black tupelo, also called gum tree, is one of the most beautiful native trees of North America. Check out some interesting facts about this tree that’s known for its colorful foliage.
I Am the Largest!
The largest recorded black tupelo tree is 144 feet tall and has a crown spread of 95 feet.
The binomial name of black tupelo is Nyssa sylvatica. The word “Nyssa” refers to a water nymph in Greek, whereas “tupelo” is of an American origin. It comes from the Creek words ito ‘tree’ and opilwa ‘swamp’. Tupelo or nyssa is a small genus consisting of 9 – 11 species. Five species out of these are native to North America, while the others are found in eastern and southeastern Asia. Black tupelo, also called black gum tree, pepperidge tree, or simply tupelo is native to North America from New England to southern Ontario, to central Florida, eastern Texas, and Mexico.
• Kingdom – Plantae
• Order – Cornales
• Family – Cornaceae (or Nyssaceae)
• Genus – Nyssa
• Species – N. sylvatica
Black tupelo grows up to 20 – 25 meters (66 – 82 ft) tall and has a trunk diameter of 50 – 100 cm. The branches usually grow at right angles from the trunk. When the plant is young, it has a pyramidal shape, and it becomes more oval as the tree grows.
» Beavers use the wood of the tree for construction, as well as a source of food, if it grows near water bodies.
» The wood is used for mauls, pulleys, wheel hubs, agricultural rollers, bowls, paving blocks, pallets, rough floors, pulpwood, and firewood.
Other Interesting Facts
» The only problem with this tree is that Nyssa sylvatica forms a large deep taproot when young, making transplanting difficult. It is fairly uncommon in cultivation and the nursery trade due to this reason.
A very attractive tree, growing it in your garden will draw in lots of birds and small mammals as well. It is fairly pest-free and easy to care for.