General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4b -31.7 °C (-25 °F) to -28.9 °C (-20 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 9a
Plant Height: 45 to 75 feet
Plant Spread: 35 to 50 feet
Leaves: Good fall color
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: Green
Other: Greenish-white
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Spring
Underground structures: Taproot
Suitable Locations: Street Tree
Uses: Shade Tree
Edible Parts: Fruit
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Pollinators: Bees
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Dioecious
Awards and Recognitions: Other: 2005 Great Plant Picks Award Winner

Common names
  • Black Gum
  • Black Tupelo
  • Sour Gum
  • Pepperidge
  • Beetlebung

  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jan 14, 2018 2:18 PM concerning plant:
    The Black Tupelo or Black Gum is a beautiful, high quality tree that grows in the wild in wet bottomlands to upland forest edges from southern Maine down to central Florida into east Texas to southern Missouri & Illinois, in all Indiana up into southern Michigan into the tip of very south Ontario. It is slow to medium in rate, growing from only 4 inches/year to about 1.25 foot/year; in nurseries and landscaping usually about 1 foot/year. It lives about 150-200 years. Its dark, shiny simple leaves are about 2 to 5 inches long and with smooth margins, and leaves turn a good to excellent autumn color from bright yellow in some shade to orange to bright red in more sun. The fruit is a fleshy bluish to purple berry in clusters of 1 to 3 on long stems, loved by birds and small mammals. It develops a taproot and is difficult to transplant, but nurseries can do it in early spring B&B or with containers. This species is sold by some large, diverse nurseries and native plant nurseries. I see it infrequently in the average yard, even in the Mid-Atlantic, unless it was there before the house was built, but I see it in various spots in the wild near the woods in Pennsylvania and Delaware, and occasionally planted at estates, parks, office parks, campuses, and in other professional landscapes.

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