Nyssa Sylvatica

Jan 27, 2020

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Certain trees in the genus Nyssa are most often associated with wet areas, the generic name honors the Greek water nymph Nyssa. All their flowers, both male and female, are very attractive to bees. I found an article in the Asheville Citizens Times about one type, Nyssa sylvatica  var. sylvatica, that grows in the Blue Ridge Mountains (also way up the Eastern Coast and into Canada) mixed in with oaks and hickories and such. The article, which you should look up, Citizen Times, George Ellison, Nature Journal, "Why the blackgum tree has a hollow trunk," is fascinating. Gum trees are very susceptible to wind-dispersed fungi that cause the trunks and large branches to rot and become hollow. A hollow log was like a pipe to those living on the land and could be used for an incredible variety of purposes.