Nyssa sylvatica – Tupelo (eastern North America)
Habit: Medium-size tree, 15-20 m tall, rarely larger; 8-12 m wide; conical, horizontal twigs, flattened crown, asymmetrical, very slow-growing; 10-25 cm a year.
Flowers: Dioecious, inconspicuous, pale green to whitish clusters; end of May to June when leaves shoot.
Fruits: Ovoid fruits on stems, fleshy, bluish black from the beginning of October; acidic and bitter; unpalatable.
Leaves: Elliptical, later shoots at end of May; light green, gradually dark green, flaming orange yellow to intense red in autumn; October to November.
Roots: Deep, sensitive to mechanical interference.
Demands: Only full sun, shade possible but not tolerant of deep shade; needs warmth, moderately frost hardy, likes high humidity, tolerant of urban pollution; resistant to air and soil pollution, needs wind protection.
Soil: Prefers damp soil but moderate drought is tolerated; acidic to neutral; all well drained, substrates with little chalk, somewhat tolerant of salt.
Native habitat: In Tupelo forests, the various deciduous varieties compete for the best autumn colours: Acer rubrum, Cornus florida, Crataegus crus galli, Hydrangea quercifolia, Liquidambar styraciflua and even Parthenocissus quinquefolia turn bright hues of red. The evergreen alternative palette is offered by species of Pinus and Ilex; late summer and autumn-flowering Aster novi-belgii, Helenium, Monarda, Physostegia virginiana, Rudbeckia fulgida, Vernonia crinita and Veronica virginica complete the display of colours.
Hardiness: Zone 6b