Nyssa sylvatica, also known as black tupelo, black gum and sour gum, is native to Eastern North America through the Midwest to Eastern Texas. Grows 60-80 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide. Nyssa sylvatica has glossy green leaves and straight trunks and branches that grow outward at right angles. This medium sized tree is a upright pyramidal shape when young, rounding out with age.
Roots go straight down, so transplanting trees over 4 years old is difficult. This trait makes this shade tree an excellent choice in lawns, rain gardens, and as a street or driveway tree. It can be planted closer to buildings than you would normally plant a large tree. Also works well in moist flood plains, absorbing moisture created by runoff or natural springs.
Bark, which resembles alligator hide as the tree matures adds a visual interest.
Likes full sun to part shade, moist, organic soils, and even tolerates standing in water for several weeks and some degree of drought after established.
This hardy tree is often referred to as the best for Fall leaf color with a brilliant display of yellow, orange, and primarily dark red foliage. Plant in USDA zones 3-9.
Makes a food source for bees, birds and other small wildlife.