Nyssa sylvatica - Marshall.
Common Name Black Tupelo, Blackgum, Sour Gum, Black Tupelo
Family Nyssaceae
USDA hardiness 4-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Low acid woods, swamps and shores in imperfectly drained soils[11, 43]. Also found on high wooded slopes in the south of its range[82].
Range Eastern N. America - Maine to Florida, west to Ontario and Texas.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

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

Nyssa sylvatica Black Tupelo, Blackgum, Sour Gum, Black Tupelo

Nyssa sylvatica Black Tupelo, Blackgum, Sour Gum, Black Tupelo
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of lolypop
Nyssa sylvatica is a deciduous Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 12 m (39ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3. It is in leaf 10-May It is in flower in June, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.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 soil. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

N. multiflora. N. villosa.

Woodland Garden Canopy; Secondary;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw or cooked. A thin sharply acid pulp that is pleasant to roll in the mouth as a masticatory[183], it is also used in preserves[177, 183]. Pleasantly acidulous[2]. The fruit is up to 15mm in diameter and is borne in small clusters of 2 - 3[82, 200].
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.

Emetic;  Ophthalmic;  Vermifuge.

The bark is emetic, ophthalmic and vermifuge[257]. An infusion has been used as a bath and also given to children with worms[257]. A strong decoction is used to cause vomiting when unable to retain food[257]. A strong ooze from the roots is used as eye drops[257].


Other Uses

Wood - tough, not durable, soft, heavy, hard to work and warps easily. It has an intricately contorted and twisted grain[82]. It weighs 40lb per cubic foot and is used for making boxes, soles of shoes, wooden pipes, wheel hubs, veneer etc[43, 46, 61, 82, 171, 227, 235].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Firewood, Pest tolerant, Aggressive surface roots possible, Specimen. 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[11, 200]. It prefers a neutral to alkaline soil according to one report[200], whilst another says that it requires a lime-free soil[98]. Tolerates atmospheric pollution and growing in maritime regions[200]. A very ornamental tree[1], it has a moderate rate of growth and moderate longevity[229]. Resents root disturbance, it is difficult to transplant except when young[11]. The tree does not come into leaf until late May. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features:Attracts birds, 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. Give the plants some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors. 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 aquaticaWater Tupelo20
Nyssa ogecheOgeechee Lime, Ogeechee tupelo20


Print Friendly and PDF
Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Nyssa sylvatica  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design

Twiter      Facebook


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us
Sign In

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email ePost. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.