Trees of Alabama and the Southeast

Lisa Samuelson, Ph.D.
School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences
Auburn University

WATER TUPELO
Nyssa aquatica
Cornaceae

Leaves are simple, alternate and deciduous, up to 12 inches long, elliptical to obovate with an occasional large tooth or two on the margin. The leaf petiole is up to 2 inches long, hairy and red and longer than the other tupelos. Fruit is a blue-black drupe about 1 inch long with a ridged stone. Bark is gray-brown and furrowed and the trunk is often swollen at the base. Form is up to 30 m (100 ft) in height and 1 m (3 ft) in diameter; trunk is swollen at the base. Water tupelo is found on flooded sites in the southeastern U.S. and is shade intolerant. The wood is used for pulp and boxes. Bees like the flowers. This species is also grouped in Nyssaceae.

Photographs by Mike Hogan.

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