Tupelo Trees are trees in the Nyssa genus of the tupelo family (Nyssaceae). The tupelo family is most closely related to the Chile nettle family (which contains blazing stars) and the dogwood family. It is not at all closely related to either sweetgum trees or gum trees.
Black Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), also called Sour Gum, is a deciduous tree from eastern North America. It usually grows 70 to 80 feet tall, occasionally over 100 feet tall. In 20 years, it might grow to about 30 feet tall. Its long taproot, formed very early in life, makes it difficult to transplant. Black Tupelo is equally likely to grow in wetlands or in dry areas, but it has a low tolerance for drought. It has two genders: some Black Tupelo trees have both male flowers and "perfect" flowers (containing both male and female parts), while other Black Tupelo trees have both female flowers and "perfect" flowers. The male-and-perfect trees are ranked 9 out of 10 on the Ogren Plant Allergy Scale, indicating a tendency to cause severe hay fever. They typically bloom from about March through May, so if you suffer from hay fever during those months, these Black Tupelo trees could be the culprits. Female-and-perfect trees normally also produce pollen, but there is a pollen-free female cultivar called 'Miss Scarlet.' Black Tupelo is planted at Campbell Park, Ralph Harris Park, Streng Park, and William Crawford, Sr., Park. It is also planted as a street tree on Cross Street, Elm Street, Locust Street, Main Street, North Street, Pioneer Avenue, and Sports Park Drive.