Belfast Botanic Gardens Tree Archive

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This is one of a series of short articles about trees in the Belfast Botanic Gardens compiled by the Friends group. The tree tag number relates to the BCC black tree maintenance tags, usually fixed on the tree trunk, 2 to 3m above ground level.
Family: Nyssaceae
Nyssa sylvatica Marshall
Tupelo or black gum

Black tag 114
54o 34.949N
5o 56.028W

This is a member of a small family, the Nyssaceae. It is fairly closely related to Davidia involucra, the handkerchief tree, which is also in Nyssaceae. The tupelo is a native of wetlands from Ontario to Mexico. It forms a medium to large tree up to 22m

The tupelo is rare in the British Isles. It needs warm summers and is seldom seen north of the English Midlands. It is usually grown for its spectacular Autumn foliage colours of scarlet, orange and yellow. Introduced into the British Isles in 1750, it received an RHS Award of Merit in 1951 and an Award of Garden Merit in 1969. The flowers are tiny and greenish (see photo).

Tupelo tree in Belfast Botanic Gardens Tupelo tree in Belfast Botanic Gardens
Young Nyssa sylvatica in Belfast Botanic Gardens Nyssa sylvatica, autumn colours in 2019
Flowers of Nyssa sylvatica Leaves of Nyssa sylvatica
Flowers of Nyssa sylvatica Leaves of Nyssa sylvatica

Photos taken in Belfast Botanic Gardens in 2015. Copyright: Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens.

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