Nyssa sylvatica Nyssaceae
Sour Gum, Black Gum, Black Tupelo, Pepperidge NIS-a sil-VAT-i-ka
- Broadleaf deciduous tree, 30-50 ft, (9-15 m), pyramidal to irregular rounded, variable.
Leaves alternate, ovate, obovate to elliptic (i.e., variable), 7.5-15 cm long, entire margin, but
sometimes remotely toothed, glossy (waxy) upper and dull lower surface, good fall color, often bright red.
Dioecious - male and female plants- flowers small, greenish-yellow, in small clusters, more or
less inconspicuous. Fruit, small, green, then blue-black, drupe, 12 mm long.
- Its variable nature can make it difficult to identify from a small shoot. Specimens from this tree are sent to Arnold Arboretum more frequently than any other for
identification, especially when it is in fruit (Wyman, 1990, p.321). Look for
three vascular bundles in a leaf scar and inspect for chambered
- Sun or partial shade. Difficult to transplant because of taproot. Prefers moist, well-drained, acid soils. Does not tolerate high pH. Shelter from wind.
- Hardy to USDA Zone 3 Native from Maine, Ontario, Michigan to Florida and Texas.
- Nyssa: after Nyssa, a water nymph in Greek mythology. sylvatica: of the woods.
- Oregon State Univ. campus: row on the north side of the sports field south of Crop Science.