Nyssa sylvatica

black gum, tupelo


wildlife plant   wildlife plant  


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Use this link to get more info about this plant from the USF Institute for Systematic Botany

Plant Specifics

Form: tree
Life Span: long-lived perennial
Size: Height: 30-50 ft    Width: 30-50 ft
Phenology: deciduous
Noted for: Hurricane wind resistance, fall color


Recommended Uses: Specimen tree where its sweeping branches and scarlet fall color can be appreciated. Shade tree.
Considerations: Low branches are set at 90 degrees to the trunk and spread widely, so does not make a good street or lawn tree.
Availability: Native nurseries
Light: light requirement   light requirement  
Moisture Tolerance:
Salt Tolerance: Not salt tolerant
Soil or other substrate: Sand, clay, loam


wildlife plant   wildlife plant  
Native Habitats: Wooded areas, usually sandy, moist to dry.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida

USDA Zones:

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures

Suitable to grow in:


Tupelo honey is well-know for its unusual sweet taste. In the north, it's also know as the beetlebung tree, because its wood was used for barrel bungs (like corks to keep in the liquid, usually whale oil).

Other Comments:

It lacks a true terminal bud on its branches so grows in a somewhat contorted pattern. This is especially noticeable near the ocean where there is a consistent sea breeze.