The black gum — also called black tupelo or sour gum — is a native tree found throughout eastern North America, from Southern Ontario and Maine all the way to Florida and Texas. It is a medium-sized deciduous tree, usually maturing at a height between 66 and 82 feet.
|A black gum's brilliant fall color stands out against more late-changing leaves. Photo credit: dogtooth77.|
- Dark and furrowed bark. Some black gum bark resembles the scales of an alligator, making it particularly easy to recognize.
- Leaves, which are simple and oval-shaped with a rounded base. Dark green and glossy in the summer and peach or wine-red in the fall, the black gum's leaves are typically about two to six inches long.
- Small and greenish-white flowers, appearing in springtime with the leaves.
- Fruit, which blossoms when the leaves change color. Due to its early arrival, the sour fruit of a black gum attracts a lot of birds in early autumn.
Fun facts about the black gum:
- High in fat and fiber, the tree's fruit is an important food source for black bears
- In colonial times, the strong wood of the black gum was used for water pipes
- During spring season, the black gum qualifies for our RiverSmart Homes program!