Black Gum

Nyssa sylvatica
(Black Tupelo, Sour Gum, Pepperidge, Tupelo)


The black gum tree is native to the eastern half of the United States where its small purple berries provide food for wildlife. Although it grows naturally in hardwood and pine forests, it makes an excellent ornamental and shade tree. This medium-sized dense tree with horizontal branches provides beautiful bright red leaf color in the fall. These leaves can be used in autumn decorations because their leathery texture does not curl and dry; and, therefore, they will last for weeks indoors. Commercially, the wood of the black gum is used in making high quality paper.