Black Tupelo is part of the Tupelo family (Nyssaceae). It is a tree that grows slowly or a medium rate and prefers moist, rich, silty loam, sandy, acidic, well-draining types of soil. The leaves can vary in color from orange, yellow, purple, or red in the fall. There are flowers, but they are small, and the berries which are blue/black is enjoyed by wildlife. The bark of a Black Gum is in six-sided plates, which makes it unique and thick. The bark is useful for making tool handles, but the tree has a twisted grain to it, so it cannot be split.
What is probably little known about the Black Gum is that it is one of the favorite trees, when with other tupelo types of trees, produces honey that is a favorite among honey producers. In addition to wildlife enjoying the berries, bees are provided with food from the Black Gum in early to late spring. The honey is described as mild-tasting and light, which (especially in Florida which does a million dollars annually) sells for a very nice price. Old Black Gum trees that have decayed are hollow and then cut down, creating smaller sections, which are used for beehives.
If someone is interested in having a Black Gum as a tree in their landscape, it is best to buy from a trusted local source and one that is a colorful seedling. Black Gum trees have a hard time reproducing vegetatively which is why there have not been many selections created. Make sure that you have an excellent location, the right soil, and the correct zone before planting a Black Gum.