Plant Details

Nyssa sylvatica

Blackgum, Black Gum, Black Tupelo, Sourgum, Pepperidge, Tupelo Gum

Scientific Name:

Nyssa sylvatica

Common Name:

Blackgum, Black Gum, Black Tupelo, Sourgum, Pepperidge, Tupelo Gum

Plant Family

Nyssaceae (Tupelo Family)


NC Native



Bloom Color(s):

greenish yellow

Size in Feet:

90 - 100

Soil Moisture:

mesic to xeric(*)

Bloom Time:

April - May

Bloom Area:

Coast, Piedmont, Mountains

Habitat Description:

Dry or mesic upland forests, less commonly in bottomlands, pine savannas, or upland depressions, where occasionally inundated briefly (Weakley 2015). Common throughout NC.

State Rank:

No NC Rank Listed (*)

Global Rank:

No Global Rank listed (*)

State Status:

No NC Status Listed (*)

Federal Status:

No U.S. Status Listed (*)


"A handsome ornamental and shade tree, Black Tupelo is also a honey plant. The juicy fruit is consumed by many birds and mammals." Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

Blackgum, Nyssa sylvatica

Blackgum has dense foliage, brilliant red fall color, and small blue-black fruit attractive to wildlife. It's also an important bee tree for honey. It grows in many habitats, from moist woods along streams to dry uplands.


Charley Winterbauer, April 2012, Wilmington


Blackgum leaves are easily mistaken for Persimmon, Diospyros virginiana, but Blackgum leaves are usually glossy above and will sometimes have a few teeth on the margins. Blackgum twigs have terminal buds which Persimmons lack.




Branching pattern

Blackgum branches usually are short and come off the tree at right angles. Lower branches of young trees may have a distinct droop.



USDA PLANTS Database Record

Bird-Friendly Native Plants

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