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Black Gum

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Black gum

Nyssa sylvatica

Family: Nyssaceae

Leaf Type: Deciduous

Mature Height: ~20 m (66 ft)

Fall Color: Yellow-orange to dark red

Native Range: Black gum trees are natively found all throughout the eastern United States.

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Features

Black gum trees are members of the tupelo family which is where it gets another of its common names: black tupelo. They are closely related to the dogwood family and are usually found in areas that are prone to flooding.
The leaves of black gums are glossy green and oval with a pale green underleaf. They sometimes have a few teeth (sharp ridges) around the edges. These trees are often planted because of their beautiful fall color. The fruit of this tree is small, blue-black, and hangs down on a thin stalk. They are an important food source for wildlife. We recommend not sampling the fruits & nuts of the trees and plants here at Adventure Science Center. The bark of young black gums has rectangular ridges, but as the tree ages, it becomes deeply furrowed and scaly.

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Fun Facts

● Black gum trees are a favorite of bees due to their high nectar production.
● Wildlife such as squirrels and raccoons often live in black gum trees when limbs fall off and leave behind a hole in the trunk.

Did you know that trees provide homes for animals, keep us cool and clean our air? Click here to learn more about the benefits that trees provide to us and our world.

This site has a rich human history, including the story of the Bass Street Community, one of the first Free Black neighborhoods in Nashville. Click here to learn more about St. Cloud Hill and its many inhabitants over the years.

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