(Nyssa sylvatica)
The Dogwood Family (Cornaceae)

Reliable early fall color and unusual horizontal branching distinguish a Blackgum from the oaks and elms that it may appear to be upon first inspection. Alternate, deciduous leaves are evenly spaced along the current year’s twig growth.


Grows in a wide variety of habitats.

Interesting Facts: 

Honey bees use the nectar to make honey. Twigs from the Blackgum can be used to make a toothbrush by fraying the ends.

.375”- .625” oval shaped and purplish in color containing a large seed.
Male flower is greenish-yellow and .125”wide; female on same plant is greenish in tiny clusters at the end of a loose stalk.
Wildlife value: 
The fruit is eaten by as many as 32 species of birds as well as squirrels and foxes. The leaves are consumed by beaver, black bear and white-tailed deer. Squirrels, rabbits and owls are some of the animals that use hollows in the tree for cover.
Fall color
Leaf type: 
Wildlife value: 
Tree dimensions: 

Leaf length: 2.00-5.00 inches
Tree height: 80.00-100.00 feet

Where to find Blackgum on the Louisiana State Arboretum Trails:

WAB - Walker Branch Trail 20.0

PAW - Pawpaw Loop Trail 2.0

TER - Walker Terrace 10.0

Refer to our Live Map to locate this species and its interpretative signage on the trail system.