Friday, March 1, 2019
Water Tupelo - Nyssa aquatica
The Water Tupelo (Nyssa aquatica), is best identified by it's combination of wetland habitat and and large very long stalked leaves. They can reach heights upwards of 100 feet tall and are deciduous in their native range. The Water Tupelo grows in a erect and upright form with usually only one single trunk.
Image Citation: Brian Lockhart, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
The bark of the Water Tupelo is grey and color and young twigs appear to have more of a reddish tone. The leaves are alternate, simple and ovate or oblong, wedge shaped or even heart shaped in some cases. The male and female flowers generally occur on separate trees and appear in compact clusters in the Spring. The fruit is oblong and dark blue to purple in color, borne singly on a conspicuous stalk, it matures in late Summer to early Fall.
Image Citation: Chris Evans, University of Illinois, Bugwood.org
The Water Tupelo is native to river swamps, floodplains, and lake margins from Virginia south to Northern Florida, West through Illinois and Southeast through Missouri, Arkansas and Eastern Texas. The most similar species to the Water Tupelo is the Ogeechee Tupelo (Nyssa ogeche).