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

USDA PLANTS Range Map

At the range map link above, zoom in for county-level data

Sun Exposure 
Full Sun, Medium Sun/Average Shade
Soil
Moisture
Dry, Moderate, High
Nature Attracting
Pollinators/Beneficial Insects, Songbirds
Wildlife Benefit
Butterfly / Moth Host, Cover, Food/Birds, Food/Pollinators, Food/Small Animals, Nesting
Animal
Resistance
Size

Height:

30 to
70
feet

Spread:

20 to
30
feet
Size
Height: 30 to
70
feet
Spread: 20 to
30
feet
Size
Height: 30 to
70
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. Prefers mesic soil, but adaptable to dry sites and a wide range of soil types. Once established, resistant to drought and some degree of flooding.
Special Features
Interesting Bark
Special Usage
Salt Tolerant
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 and animals. Host for the black and white Hebrew Moth.

Where Should I Start?

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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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