Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
Black gum is a medium-sized native landscape tree with foliage that is glossy green in summer and bright red to deep purple in fall. A stately tree with a straight trunk, it typically grows 30–50 feet tall, but occasionally to 90 feet. Primarily dioecious (separate male and female trees), but each tree often has some perfect flowers. Small, greenish-white flowers appear in spring on long stalks. Although flowers are not showy, they are an excellent nectar source for bees. Fruits mature to a dark blue and are attractive to birds and wildlife. Spectacular scarlet fall color. Black gum grows best in moist, acidic soils, but also makes a good street tree in residential areas, as it tolerates drought and soil compaction.
Illinois native species.