Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)


Quick Facts

  • Source of Tupelo honey
  • Van Morrison named his third album in 1971, Tupelo Honey
  • Hollow trunks commonly used as artificial bee hives for early bee keepers who named them “bee gums”


Black gum has ellipsoid simple leaves with a shiny luster.  Fall color is full of reds and purples.  Trees are male or female. The purple, paired fruits contain a large single seed.  The fruit pulp is oily and consumed by migrating birds that need to refuel. Southern Nyssa has fragrant small flowers that are desired by both honeybees and bee keepers.