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Nyssa sylvatica
Nyssa sylvatica

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Zone
Zones 2-10, 14-21, 28, 31-41
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Nyssa sylvatica

Sour Gum
Nyssaceae
Deciduous, Trees

Native to eastern U.S. Slow to moderate growth to 30 to 50 ft. or taller, 15 to 25 ft. wide. Pyramidal when young; spreading, irregular, and rugged in age. Crooked branches and dark, red-tinged bark make dramatic picture against winter sky. Glossy dark green, 2- to 5-in.-long leaves emerge rather late in spring. Male and female flowerborne on separate plants. Both sexes bear inconspicuous flowers; females will bear fruit if a male is growing nearby (males may set some fruit as well). Fruits are bluish black, shaped like small olives; birds like them, but the fruits can make a mess on decks and driveways. In fall, even in mild-winter regions, leaves turn yellow and orange, then bright red before dropping.

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