blackgum Cornaceae Nyssa sylvatica Marsh. Listen to the Latin symbol: NYSY Other Fact Sheets
Leaf: Alternate, simple, pinnately veined, oblong to obovate in shape with an entire margin, 3 to 5 inches long, occasionally shallow lobes (or coarse teeth) near tip, dark green above and slightly paler below.
Flower: Species is usually dioecious; not showy, light green in color, in clusters hanging from slender stalks, appearing with the leaves.
Fruit: A dark, purplish blue drupe, 1/2 inch long, with a fleshy coating surrounding a ribbed pit, ripen in late summer and fall.
Twig: Moderately stout, red-brown to gray, diaphragmed pith; 1 to 2 inch curved spur shoots are often present; buds ovate, pointed, green and light brown, but darkening to brown in the winter.
Bark: Gray-brown and shallowly, irregularly furrowed, on old stems it can become quite blocky, resembling alligator hide.
Form: A medium sized tree reaching up to 80 feet tall on moist sites, generally much shorter in the mountains. On younger trees the branches often stand at right angles to the trunk with numerous short, curled spur shoots present.

Looks like: common persimmon - sourwood - swamp tupelo - water tupelo
leaf flower fruit twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information:
Nyssa sylvatica is native to North America.
Range may be expanded by planting.
See states reporting blackgum.
More: Fall Color Wood
External Links:
USDAFS Silvics of North America
USDAFS Additional Silvics
Landowner Factsheet
USDA Plants Database
© Copyright 2016, Virginia Tech
Dept. of Forest Resources
and Environmental Conservation,
all rights reserved.
Photos and text by: John Seiler,
Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera,
and John Peterson
Virginia Tech Homepage CNRE FREC