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)

11 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

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By sugarlump
Thumbnail #1 of Nyssa sylvatica by sugarlump

By activex
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By beclu727
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By melody
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By melody
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By melody
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By Floridian
Thumbnail #7 of Nyssa sylvatica by Floridian

There are a total of 41 photos.
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6 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

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
Indian Springs Village, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Morrilton, Arkansas
Smyrna, Delaware
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Dacula, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Evanston, Illinois
Northfield, Illinois
Homecroft, Indiana
Benton, Kentucky
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Parkway Village, Kentucky
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
Raleigh, North Carolina
Ada, Oklahoma
Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Lehighton, Pennsylvania
Roman Forest, Texas
Shepherd, Texas
Lexington, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Five Corners, Washington
Tonasket, Washington
Cambridge, Wisconsin

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