Nyssa aquatica - L.
Common Name Water Tupelo
Family Nyssaceae
USDA hardiness 6-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Swamps, bottomlands, or sites periodically under water, in soils ranging from clay to rich silts[229].
Range South-eastern N. America - Virginia to Florida, west to Illinois and Texas.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Moist Soil Wet Soil Water Plants Semi-shade Full sun

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Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Oval, Pyramidal.

Nyssa aquatica Water Tupelo

USDA / An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. Courtesy of Kentucky Native Plant Society
Nyssa aquatica Water Tupelo
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Nyssa aquatica is a deciduous Tree growing to 30 m (98ft 5in) at a medium rate. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs)Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can grow in water.

N. uniflora.

Woodland Garden Canopy; Pond; Bog Garden;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - occasionally eaten raw but more often used in preserves[177, 183]. The fruit is up to 4cm long, it has a thick, tough skin with a thin acid flesh surrounding a large seed[82, 229].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known


Other Uses
Cork;  Dye;  Wood.

The wood of the roots is sometimes used for making floats instead of cork[82]. A red dye can be obtained from the burnt bark mixed with water and the ash of red oak (Quercus rubra)[257]. Wood - light, close-grained, soft, difficult to split[82, 229, 235]. Tough according to one report[235], weak according to another[229]. It has an intricately contorted and twisted grain[82]. It weighs 29lb per cubic foot[235], and is used for various things such as panelling, broom handles, woodenware and crates[82, 229]. It is sometimes exploited commercially[229].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Specimen, Woodland garden. Although this is a plant of swamps and other wet soils in the wild, once established it can succeed in Britain when growing in an ordinary good loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[1]. This plant probably requires a very wet soil, it is very difficult to establish in Britain, though it should be hardy at least in the milder parts of the country. It prefers a neutral to alkaline soil[200]. Plants are fast-growing in well-drained bottomlands in the wild, but slower in swampy sites[229]. They are long-lived trees, commencing to bear seeds when about 30 years old and usually producing heavy crops each year[229]. The seed is mainly distributed by water[229]. Resents root disturbance[1]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features: North American native, Wetlands plant, Attracts butterflies, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
The seed can be sown in late winter in a cold frame[78] but would probably benefit from an earlier sowing if the seed can be obtained any sooner. Three months stratification at 5°c improves germination[200]. Germination rates are variable[78]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Layering.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Nyssa ogecheOgeechee Lime, Ogeechee tupelo20
Nyssa sylvaticaBlack Tupelo, Blackgum, Sour Gum, Black Tupelo21


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Subject : Nyssa aquatica  

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