The Black Gum is a fantastic combination of beauty, resilience, and usefulness, attracting a wide variety of wildlife and serving as an adaptable shade tree.
What distinguishes the lovely Black Gum?
Shade tolerant and grows favorably beneath more dominant trees, making an ideal woodland tree.
Extremely adaptable and resilient.
Leathery, lustrous leaves.
Splendid fall color.
Ridged blocky bark that furrows with age and resembles alligator skin.
Keeping up appearances…
Deciduous in nature, the leaves of the Black Gum are leathery and lustrous, capricious in size and shape, and make it a spectacular shade tree. In May and June, the tree produces clusters of small green-white flowers for its many pollinators. The Black Gum’s true splendor shines through in autumn, when the pigment of its foliage transforms from dark green to spectacular mauve and purple, and then eventually to bright scarlet fall colors. The Black Gum belongs to the Cornaceae family. It develops to a decent 30-50 ft., topped by a pyramidal or rounded crown, and its branches span out to roughly 20-30 ft. The trunk is straight with a perpendicular array of extended branches which layered with a thick blocky bark that furrows with age to the point that it resembles alligator hide.
A friendly recommendation.
The Black Gum is adaptable and resilient, abiding brief floods and even fire: concerning flooding, the tree reestablishes itself commendably in erosion-prone areas and helps to contain the soil; regarding fire, this shade tree may survive even if its aboveground portions are burned because it will sprout again from the caudex or root crown. With a 3-9 hardiness zone rating, this species prospers in medium, well-drained soils and proliferates best in full sun to partial shade. It can thrive amongst a mix of other tree varieties.
Awesome tree trivia!
- Popularly known as the Black Gum, this tree’s lovely binomial name—Nyssa Sylvatica—is derived in part from a Greek water nymph (named Nyssa) and is also partially in reference to the tree’s woodland habitat (sylvatica pertaining to forests).
- It is alternatively known as “Sourgum”, “Pepperidge”, “Tupelo”, and “Tupelo-Gum.”
- As a source of food and shelter, the Black Gum can provide for foxes, black bears, white-tailed deer, beavers, and a great amount of bird species
- Its tender leaves are a beloved treat for deer—so much so that too many deer can completely hinder the establishment and growth of a new tree.
- Its timber is prized for its usage in non-splitting light woodwork, including (but not limited to) veneer, containers, pallets, docks, and wharves.
This Tree's Zone: 3 to 9
Your Growing Zone:
|Fall Foliage||Purple to bright scarlet|
|Bloom Time||May to June|
|Shape||Pyramidal to rounded crowns|
|Sun||Full sun to part shade|
|Size||30 to 50 feet|
|Spread||20 to 30 feet|