Tall deciduous trees. Twigs moderate, rounded; pith white, continuous, but with firmer plates at intervals. Buds sessile or slightly stalked, solitary or superposed, ovoid, with about 4 scales; terminal bud larger. Leaf-scars alternate, broadly crescent-shaped or triangular; bundle-traces 3; stipule-scars none. In some works Nyssa is placed in the Cornaceae.
1. N. sylvatica L. Black Gum. Sour Gum. A large tree reaching a height of 35-40 m. with a trunk diameter of 1,5 m.; bark on young stems smooth and grayish, on older trunks reddish-brown or grayish-black, scaly, and on very old trunks forming "alligator" bark; twigs glabrous; buds varicolored, soft-hairy. Rich woods, Maine to Missouri, south to Florida and Texas (Fig. 227).
Fig. 227. Nyssa sylvatica.