T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Nyssa sylvatica (Black tupelo)

Kingdom:   Plantae
(unranked):        Angiosperms
(unranked):        Eudicots
(unranked):        Asterids
Order:       Cornales
Family:      Cornaceae (or Nyssaceae)
Genus:      Nyssa
Species:     N. sylvatica
Binomial name:  Nyssa sylvatica
Commoin name: Black tupelo, Tupelo, Blackgum

Nyssa sylvatica is a medium-sized deciduous tree native to eastern North America from New England and southern Ontario south to central Florida and eastern Texas, as well as Mexico.
Nyssa sylvatica forms a large deep taproot when young that makes transplanting difficult. Because of this, it is fairly uncommon in cultivation and the nursery trade.

Nyssa sylvatica grows to 20–25 metres with a trunk diameter of 50–100 centimetres. These trees typically have a straight trunk with the branches extending outward at right angles. The bark is dark grey and flaky when young, but it becomes furrowed with age.
The leaves of this species are variable in size and shape. They can be oval, elliptical, or obovate, and are >12 cm long. They have lustrous upper surfaces, with entire, often wavy margins. The foliage turns purple in autumn, eventually becoming an intense bright scarlet.
The flowers are very small, in greenish-white in clusters at the top of a long stalk. They are often dioecious so a male and female tree in proximity is required to set seed, however, many trees are also polygamo-dioecious, which means they have both male and female flowers on the same tree. The fruit is a black-blue, ovoid stone fruit, about 10 mm long with a thin, oily, bitter-to-sour tasting flesh and very popular with small bird species. There are from one to three fruits together on a long slender stalk.  (Thanks to Wikipedia)

Photographed at TupareGardens, New Plymouth


The underside.of a leaf.

Developing fruit (late November)