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Varieties of Nyssa Sylvatica

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Nyssa sylvatica has two varieties. On drier sites, you’ll find Nyssa sylvatica var sylvatica. In wet areas, often growing with bald cypress, the variety biflora is found. Both exhibit beautiful fall color, have small flowers very important to pollinators and produce fruits relished by birds and certain mammals. Also, their leaves are browsed by certain animals. When, as often happens, they become hollow with age, wildlife shelters in those cavities. Wetland species are used in remediation projects. The wood is not useful for lumber -- its interlocking grain makes it difficult to split. The Wood Data base website makes an interesting connection between its use by wildlife and by wildlife artists ,“Tupelo is a favored wood for wildfowl carvings. It generally is able to take finer details, holds paint better, and does not fuzz up during power carving like basswood.”

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.