This small tree is near the southeast corner of Garland Hall, facing the divinity school.
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
. Black gum is a dioecious species, meaning that individual trees are either female or male. This one is a male, so although it makes small, green male flowers
, it will never produce fruit. The tree on the other side of the sidewalk
is a female that produces many fruits in the fall.
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.