Herb: Water Tupelo


Latin name: Nyssa aquatica


Synonyms: Nyssa uniflora


Family: Nyssaceae (Tupelo Family, Sour Gum Family)



Edible parts of Water Tupelo:

Fruit - occasionally eaten raw but more often used in preserves. The fruit is up to 4cm long, it has a thick, tough skin with a thin acid flesh surrounding a large seed.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
30 m
(98 feet)

Flowering:
April
to May

Habitat of the herb:

Swamps, bottomlands, or sites periodically under water, in soils ranging from clay to rich silts.

Other uses of Water Tupelo:

The wood of the roots is sometimes used for making floats instead of cork. A red dye can be obtained from the burnt bark mixed with water and the ash of red oak (Quercus rubra). Wood - light, close-grained, soft, difficult to split. Tough according to one report, weak according to another. It has an intricately contorted and twisted grain. It weighs 29lb per cubic foot, and is used for various things such as panelling, broom handles, woodenware and crates. It is sometimes exploited commercially.

Propagation of the herb:

The seed can be sown in late winter in a cold frame but would probably benefit from an earlier sowing if the seed can be obtained any sooner. Three months stratification at 5C improves germination. Germination rates are variable. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Cultivation of Water Tupelo:

Swamps, bottomlands, or sites periodically under water, in soils ranging from clay to rich silts.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Nyssa aquatica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.