Herb: Black Tupelo


Latin name: Nyssa sylvatica


Synonyms: Nyssa multiflora, Nyssa villosa


Family: Nyssaceae (Tupelo Family, Sour Gum Family)



Medicinal use of Black Tupelo:

The bark is emetic, ophthalmic and vermifuge. An infusion has been used as a bath and also given to children with worms. A strong decoction is used to cause vomiting when unable to retain food. A strong ooze from the roots is used as eye drops.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Tree

Height:
15 m
(49 feet)

Flovering:
June

Habitat of the herb:

Low acid woods, swamps and shores in imperfectly drained soils. Also found on high wooded slopes in the south of its range.

Edible parts of Black Tupelo:

Fruit - raw or cooked. A thin sharply acid pulp that is pleasant to roll in the mouth as a masticatory, it is also used in preserves. Pleasantly acidulous. The fruit is up to 15mm in diameter and is borne in small clusters of 2 - 3.

Other uses of the herb:

Wood - tough, not durable, soft, heavy, hard to work and warps easily. It has an intricately contorted and twisted grain. It weighs 40lb per cubic foot and is used for making boxes, soles of shoes, wooden pipes, wheel hubs, veneer etc.

Propagation of Black Tupelo:

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. Give the plants some protection from the cold for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Layering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Low acid woods, swamps and shores in imperfectly drained soils. Also found on high wooded slopes in the south of its range.

Known hazards of Nyssa sylvatica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.