Crow’s Nest Plants We Love: Black gum

September 26, 2019

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) is a beautiful tree that we love at Crow’s Nest. Also called tupelo, this is the species of our “courting tree” on Northside Road as well as the one pictured above—actually a grove growing along the “spring ditch” that is a tributary to French Creek. That’s the new Tiny Library at extreme lower left of the photo.

As you can tell, black gum has a rich red fall color and grows easily in a variety of habitats from dry rocky woods here to this moist area along the stream, though it is more commonly found in moist bottomlands across its range. And we are located toward the northern end of its range, suggesting that the species may be adaptable to growing well here as the climate changes.

Check out this tree by hiking the Creek Trail to its end, turning right as the trail begins its climb toward the Chief’s Grove, but then continue past the Adirondack chairs and Tiny Library. Then step back for the full view.