Black Gum




Black Gum tree goes by many names including sour gum, bowl gum, yellow gum, stinkwood, tupelo gum, and pepperidge. Whatever you call it, it’s a fall favorite for its unbelievable leaf color. During the summer, Black Gum leaves are a dark green with a high gloss, turning to shades of yellow, orange, bright red, purple, and scarlet in the fall. And as beautiful as this tree is, it also serves a valuable function for countless wildlife, favored by fall songbirds, treefrogs, bats, foxes, racoons, and more. And if you’ve ever enjoyed tupelo honey, you can thank a Black Gum tree! The spring flowers are small but mighty, attracting bees and making the Black Gum tree one of the best-producing honey trees in the world.

Features & Benefits

  • Stunning fall leaf colors
  • Small white spring flowers
  • Bluish-black fruit in September to early October, food for birds and small mammals
  • Interesting textural bark as the tree ages
  • Large size is ideal for creating shade and focal points in the landscape
  • Attracts wildlife and birds as well as nutrition for bees in early to late spring
  • Resistant to fire, heat, salt, wet soil, and drought

Care & Space

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Plant Height: 30–50’
  • Plant Width: 20–30’
  • Prefers moist, well-drained, acidic soil but will tolerate some drought and wet conditions
  • Because the long taproot makes it difficult to transplant, this tree should be planted in its
    permanent location
  • Growth habit: Lovely oval shape with bark that furrows with age, resembling alligator hide
  • USDA Zones 4–9