Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Sour Gum, Blackgum, Tupelo, Pepperidge
Nyssa sylvatica

Family: Nyssaceae
Genus: Nyssa (NY-suh) (Info)
Species: sylvatica (sil-VAT-ee-kuh) (Info)

10 vendors have this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


over 40 ft. (12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From woody stem cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By sugarlump
Thumbnail #1 of Nyssa sylvatica by sugarlump

By activex
Thumbnail #2 of Nyssa sylvatica by activex

By beclu727
Thumbnail #3 of Nyssa sylvatica by beclu727

By melody
Thumbnail #4 of Nyssa sylvatica by melody

By melody
Thumbnail #5 of Nyssa sylvatica by melody

By melody
Thumbnail #6 of Nyssa sylvatica by melody

By Floridian
Thumbnail #7 of Nyssa sylvatica by Floridian

There are a total of 41 photos.
Click here to view them all!


7 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive wildbarrett On Jun 3, 2014, wildbarrett from Lakewood, OH wrote:

I selected mine from those at a garden center. All of the others were very conical in shape, whilst this one had outward reaching top branches, again, parallel with the ground!! Radically different shape than the others, but no cultivar noted. The day I planted it in October one year, the wind shifted and snow began to set in as I worked. (Lake Erie shoreline). To keep the tree from blowing right over out of its hole, which was happening repeatedly as I tried to cover with planting soil, I "sandbagged" him down with the empty soil bags filled with removed clay clods! That way, his roots would not be jostled, he could stand still in place no matter how the wind bent him, gave him a thorough soaking, and winter set in. I left the "sandbags" in place for 1 full year, (plus then the next winter, why not), (about 6" from trunk, all the way around) ...they held the ground still and protected the soil from evaporation on seriously hot sunny days, as he's out on his own on a tree lawn. No stakes. The trunk thickened right up from wind blow, he's straight, strong, taller and filled out beautifully. Growing to beat the band!! Beautiful tree!! Will be a fine and beloved shade tree sooner than I expected perhaps! Very happy with this tree..survived a nasty prolonged cold winter this year, and held back its spring growth until mid-May, when for this year, the tree was certain winter was truly over. It does that every year, an intelligent tree!! Fall color varies each year, one year was wildly coloured, variable. Gorgeous in every respect, I do very much recommend this as a hardy and handsome shade tree. I did keep very well watered during first 2 years to establish. Now water as needed is all. :)

Positive thinkinonit On Sep 23, 2011, thinkinonit from Norfolk, VA wrote:

I have a Nyssa sylvatica var. Biflora, It is a wonderful tree to have if you like to invite birds in your backyard. I have Cardinals that will sit and gorge themsleves on the dark blue fruit. As of yesterday witnessed the Cardinal eating these before they ripened, I guess he couldn't wait any longer.

Positive jqpublic On Feb 8, 2008, jqpublic from Cary, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I love this tree. Great color and form. The branches grow almost perpendicular to the trunk. Offers great winter interest as well when the beautiful fall color is gone! When I 'grow up' I want tons of these trees in my yard!!

Positive escambiaguy On Oct 29, 2006, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This tree has great fall color and growth form. It has a nice pyramidal shape when young and grown in the open. Don't try to dig one up to transplant, the large taproot makes it impossible and they won't live. I have noticed that they color up and defoliate a little early in droughty years.

Positive melody On Jan 2, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

An absolutely wonderful tree in this area. It grows to a large shade tree and has few pests.

The scarlet leaves in the Fall are distinctive and vibrant. The fruits are eaten by birds and wildlife alike.

It grows well in any well drained soil and I've never noticed that it is more numerous in boggy's a common sight along fencerows in this area, as birds deposit the seeds when they perch on the fences.

Lumber is useful in furniture,paper, veneer and boxes.

Positive TREEHUGR On Dec 2, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I believe some of the images shown are actually nyssa sylvatica var. biflora (Swamp tupelo) but it's an easy and innocent mistake. Even way down here you can expect that scarlet color in the fall and down here what's nice is that the leaves turn at the same time but it only lasted a week. I had a couple in a shady spot and they have already called it a night. Not sure about the "consistently moist" requirement. Mine are in containers and I never watered them, I just let mother nature take care of that and she did a great job!

Positive QueenB On Oct 23, 2004, QueenB from Shepherd, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

One of the few trees in our region that has fall color, usually starting in late summer. These hardwood trees are just that--we dulled a couple of chainsaw blades on a few that had to be taken down, and they were only about 4-6 inches in diameter. (Hint: use a really big chainsaw!) They form straight, smooth trunks and a make a good shade tree if they aren't hindered from spreading by other trees. Birds and squirrels eat the black drupes. The only drawback I've found with mine is that they freely sucker down the trunk and have to be trimmed regularly. I think this is because since our place had been timbered, the lower regions are receiving sunlight and spurring the growth.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Atmore, Alabama
Pelham, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Morrilton, Arkansas
Smyrna, Delaware
Miccosukee Cpo, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Dacula, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Evanston, Illinois
Winnetka, Illinois
Indianapolis, Indiana
Benton, Kentucky
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky (2 reports)
Thurmont, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Halifax, Massachusetts
Mashpee, Massachusetts
Nantucket, Massachusetts
Chaska, Minnesota
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota
Golden, Mississippi
Piedmont, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
Monroe, New Hampshire
Rochester, New York
Charlotte, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Lakewood, Ohio
Ada, Oklahoma
Cheshire, Oregon
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Lehighton, Pennsylvania
New Caney, Texas
Shepherd, Texas
Lexington, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Seattle, Washington
Tonasket, Washington
Cambridge, Wisconsin

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America