Genus and Species
: Nyssa sylvatica
Common Name: Sour Gum or Tupelo

Habit and Cultural Information:

Type:  Deciduous
Category:  Tree
Origin:  Eastern North America
Height:  30 - 50 feet
Width:  15 - 25 feet
Form:  Pyramidal when young spreading with age
Water Needs:  Average water needs
Sunset Western Garden zones:  3-10 and 14-21
Winter Hardiness:  -20 degrees
Exposure:  Full sun to partial shade
Foliage:  Glossy dark green copper then turns red in the fall
Flower:  Greenish-white
Fruit or seed:  Bluish black olive size
Bark:  Dark grey and furrowed


Other Details:  The Nyssa sylvatica is one of the best lawn trees for fall color and with its crooked branches and twigs the dark, red-tinged bark make a dramatic picture against the winter sky. The bluish black olive size seeds are attractive to birds and are a necessary food source for migratory birds. The Nyssa sylvatica commonly known as the Sour Gum or Tupelo tree has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.