Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)

Near NE corner of Wilson Library Map

This tree, with large shiny leaves, is native to the eastern US. The name tupelo is of Native American origin, coming from the Creek words ito ‘tree’ and opilwa ‘swamp.’ In the fall it produces a splendid display of red-orange leaves.

In its native range the tupelo is an important wildlife tree; its fruit is eaten by many creatures, and its flowers (drooping purple fruit on female trees) furnish nectar to bees and other insects (hence the name Bee Gum). Excellent honey is made from the tupelo. Deer eat its bark, and small animals nest in cavities in its trunk. Altogether an admirable tree; we should plant more.

This tree was planted in 2006 to replace a diseased American elm.