Scientific Name: Nyssa sylvatica
Origin: Northeastern US
Why is it called Tupelo? Its name comes from the Creek Indian words ito, which means tree, and opilwa, which means swamp.
Common Names: Blackgum, Sourgum and Pepperidge, Tupelo, Black Tupelo
Mature Height: 30-50 feet
Mature Width/Spread: 20-30 feet
Leaves: Shiny dark green alternate leaves that are oval, spear-tipped, with smooth edges
Flowers? Yes. Clusters of small greenish white flowers at the top of a long stalk. They are a rich source of nectar for bees.
Bark: Light-brown to reddish-brown with scaly ridges and fissures that look like alligator skin
In the fall, the leaves become: various colors including yellow, orange, scarlet and purple
Did you know…
- The fruits on the trees ripens in the fall, and is eaten by many birds and mammals.
- On Martha’s Vineyard the tree is referred to as “beetlebug”.
- Bees make a tasty honey from its flowers? In Florida, beekeepers keep beehives along the Apalachicola River in the Florida Panhandle to produce Tupelo Honey.
PAGE INFORMATION WAS COMPILED AS PART OF NOAH WERNING’S 2020 EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT.