Black Gum, the arbitrary name of a tree without gum, a species of nyssa or tupelo (Ad-anson), which is the only genus of Endlicher's sub-order nyssacece of his order santalacece. Linnaeus had it in polygamia dicecia; Elliot placed it in dicecia pentandria, and Darlington in pentandria monogynia. The black gum is the N. multiflora, and is known in New England as snag tree and hornpipe, in New York as pepperidge, and as the gum tree in the middle states. It thrives in low, clayey soil, and in dense forests grows to a height of 40 ft. Its external habits are various, and it is often confounded with other trees. It has very many branches, which are often crooked; a dense pyramidal head; leaves one to five inches long, and of a lustrous green, in tufts of four or more at the ends of the branches; greenish flowers in clusters, ripening to blue-black; mouse-colored bark in longitudinal furrows. The wood is close and tough, and resists splitting, though it decays sooner in the weather than that of the elm. It is used for water pipes in the salt works at Syracuse; it is also good for hatters' blocks, wheel naves, and cog wheels. The tree is very vigorous.
Black Gum Tree (Nyssa multiflora).
Black Gum, Leaves and Fruit.