You can find this relatively small tree near the southwest corner of Magnolia Circle.
Black gum leaves
may be recognized by the fact that they are not very distinctive: they are simple, alternately arranged, with smooth margins. In the fall, they become noticeable as they become red with dark splotches
. Black gum may be confused with persimmon, which has similar leaves. However, the leaf scar
of black gum has three bundle scars, in contrast to persimmon which has a single, banana-shaped bundle scar
. The bark
of larger individuals of the two species are also quite different. Black gum's bark has vertical ridges, in contrast to the square plates of persimmon's bark
. In the fall, black gum produces fleshy black fruits
, although since the species is dioecious, only female individuals will have them.
Black gum is fairly common in uplands in this area. Its habitat is quite different from other Nyssa
species which tend to grow in swamps and wetlands.
This tree is described on p. 79 of The Trees of Vanderbilt