Nyssa sylvatica

9 Nov

Nyssa sylvatica Autumn (08/11/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Nyssa sylvatica Autumn (08/11/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period: Late spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 25m

Eventual Spread: 15m

Hardiness: 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Nyssaceae

Nyssa sylvatica is a slow growing deciduous tree with a broadly conical habit. Its mid green leaves are ovate with wavy entire margins, up to 12cm long and 5cm across. Its leaves turn red/ yellow in autumn before they fall. Its trunk may achieve a diameter of up t 1m. Its dark grey bark is flaky when young, becoming furrowed as it matures. Its green white flowers are small and appear in clusters. Its blue/ black fruit are an ovoid drupe and up to 1cm long. In time this tree form a deep tap root.

Nyssa sylvatica Autumn Leaf (08/11/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Nyssa sylvatica Autumn Leaf (08/11/2015, Kew Gardens, London)

Nyssa sylvatica, commonly known as Tupelo, Black Tupelo or Black Gum Tree, is native to east North America. In its native habitat it grows in a variety of wetland and upland habitats in mixed forests.

The etymological root of the binomial name Nyssa is derived from the name of an ancient Greek water nymph. Sylvatica is derived from the Latin silva meaning ’forest’

Nyssa sylvatica Bark (08/11/2015, Kew gardens, London)

Nyssa sylvatica Bark (08/11/2015, Kew gardens, London)

The landscape architect may find Nyssa sylvatica useful as a medium sized specimen tree with attractive autumn leaf colour. It will tolerate wet soils which make it suitable for rain gardens.

Ecologically, Nyssa sylvatica flowers are attractive to pollinating insects, including bees. Its fruit are attractive to some bird species.

Nyssa sylvatica prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It prefers a neutral to acid pH of soil although it will tolerate most pH.

Nyssa sylvatica requires little maintenance.

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