Black Gum Nyssa sylvatica Marshall    Synonyms: Black Tupelo, Pepperidge, Sour Gum.
Kingdom Plantae   >   Division Tracheophyta   >   Class Magnoliopsida   >   Order Cornales   >   Family Nyssaceae   >   Genus Nyssa   

Status:

Black Gum grows in much of the eastern United States.

Description:

Usually a small to medium sized, understory tree, but can reach 90 feet if growing in the open in moist soil. Bark thick, reddish brown or dark gray, much roughened by many short fissures and ridges, (Brown and Brown, 1972), but varies, sometimes even on the same tree, from knobbly and deeply furrowed to relatively smooth. Twigs are numerous, short, and wide-angled (approximately perpendicular to branches), giving the tree a characteristic twiggy look in winter that aids in identification. In understory trees, the trunk commonly has kinks or bends in it. Leaves, which vary from short and wide to long, narrow, and tapering, often grow in clusters. They turn crimson very early, sometimes in August. Fruit is a small, dark blue drupe.

Where to find:

Grows in both moist and dry soil, often in swamps, and occurs throughout the state.

Relationships:

The fruits are very attractive to birds.

Host plant for the Hebrew Moth. Host to the leaf miner Ectoedemia nyssaefoliella and the mite Aceria nyssae.

There are 523 records in the project database.

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The bark of Black Gum in Caroline Co., Maryland (3/23/2013). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Black Gum in Calvert Co., Maryland (3/4/2017). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Black Gum, new leaves, in Montgomery Co., Maryland (4/23/2017). Photo by Bill Hill. (MBP list)

Black Gum, also known as Black Tupelo, in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/5/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Black Gum in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (8/5/2012). Photo by Bill Hubick. (MBP list)

Black Gum in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (4/30/2011). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Black Gum in Baltimore Co., Maryland (7/15/2020). (c) Peter M Martin, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Peter M Martin via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Black Gum in Howard Co., Maryland (4/15/2010). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Blooming Black Gum in Frederick Co., Maryland (6/8/2013). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Black Gum in Dorchester Co., Maryland (5/25/2017). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Black Gum in fruit in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (9/9/2019). Photo by Matthew Beziat. (MBP list)

Black Gum in Baltimore Co., Maryland (7/15/2020). (c) Peter M Martin, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Peter M Martin via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Black Gum in Baltimore Co., Maryland (7/15/2020). (c) Peter M Martin, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Peter M Martin via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Black Gum in Baltimore Co., Maryland (7/15/2020). (c) Peter M Martin, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC). Photo by Peter M Martin via iNaturalist. (MBP list)

Black Gum in in fruit in Dorchester Co., Maryland (9/29/2016). Photo by Jim Brighton. (MBP list)

Black Gum in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (9/8/2012). Photo by Bill Harms. (MBP list)

Black Gum in fall in Bowie, Prince George's Co., Maryland (9/21/2014). Photo by Regina Kreger. (MBP list)

Black Gum in Baltimore Co., Maryland (6/17/2020). (c) Dwight Johnson, all rights reserved. Photo by Dwight Johnson. (MBP list)

Black Gum in Anne Arundel Co., Maryland (10/25/2017). Photo by Matthew Beziat. (MBP list)


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