Native Plant Database

Header Photo: Mervin Wallace

Black Gum

Nyssa sylvatica
Plant Type: Trees
Native Environment: Forest
Season of Interest: Mid (May - June), Late (July - frost), Winter (Nov - Mar)
Main Color: Green
Fall Color: Orange, Red, Yellow
Hardy From Zone:
Hardy To Zone:

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Hardiness Zones

Midwest map of zones 5 (north), 6, and 7 (south)

as defined by the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map; (hardiness zones are not recorded for all Grow Native! plants)
Sun Exposure 
Full Sun, Medium Sun/Average Shade
Soil
Moisture
Dry, Moderate, High
Nature Attracting
Butterfly, Pollinators/Beneficial Insects
Wildlife Benefit
Cover, Food/Birds
Animal
Resistance
Size

Height:

30 to
50
feet

Spread:

20 to
30
feet
Size
Height: 30 to
50
feet
Spread: 20 to
30
feet
Size
Height: 30 to
50
feet
Spread: 20 to
30
feet
Typical Landscape Use
Spectacular mid-sized specimen shade tree. One of the best trees for honey nectar.
Establishment and Care Instructions
Fast to moderate growth. Native to low wet areas, but adaptable to dry sites and a wide range of soil types. Once established, resistant to drought and flooding.
Special Features
Interesting Bark
Special Usage
Basic Description

One of our most beautiful and underused native trees. Makes an excellent specimen tree, tidy shape. Attractive, glossy, dark green leaves that turn yellow, orange, and scarlet red in fall. Bark is dark gray to almost black, alligator-like patterns when old. Deep rooted, so difficult to transplant when mature. Separate male and female trees. Fruit the size of navy beans ripen to a dark blue in fall and are a favorite food to many birds. Host for the black and white Hebrew Moth.

Where Should I Start?

Check out the Grow Native! Committee’s Top Ten picks of native plants for a particular purpose.

What’s the Next Step?

Picked out your plants? View our Resource Guide of garden centers, seed sources, landscapers, education resources, and more!

Where Can I Find This Plant in Nature?

Learn about the Native Environment(s) inhabited by the plants in this database.

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