Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Nyssa sylvatica
Sour gum, Pepperidge
Taxonomy

Synonyms: Nyssa sylvatica caroliniana

Subspecific taxa:

Classification:

  • Magnoliophyta

Other taxonomic & nomenclature sources: USDA PlantsITISThe Plant ListIPNI

Images

   
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Species Distribution
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County Map Legend
Absent:
Not known from county
Medium confidence:
Medium or unknown confidence;
often old records or unverifiable observations
Medium-high confidence:
Often observations by expert botanists
High confidence:
Often vouchered herbarium records
Planted / introduced:
Native species introduced outside historic range,
or only in planted locations within county (e.g., restorations)
Historic / extirpated:
Only historic records for the species; likely extirpated
(Note that this category is not yet functional)

North American distribution maps for this species: FLNAUSDA PlantsBONAPBISON

Collection & Observation Phenology [?]

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Collection & Observation Timeline [?]

Species Status

Status/Listing: No Information

Notes:

Origin: Native

Species Description

General: Dicot-woody, perennial

Roots: primary

Shoots: alternate leaf arrangment; simple leaf type; entire leaf margin; Pinnate leaf venation; oblanceolate leaf shape

Inflorescence: solitary

Flowers: unisexual, dioecious; 5 merous; green, white; epigynous ovary position

Fruit: drupe

Physiology: autotrophic; C3 C02 fixation

Ecology & Natural History

Habitat:

ILPIN Notes: 2, 15, 27, 28, 29, 30. The fruit of this species is a food for terrestrial furbearers, it is consumed by waterfowl (especially wood ducks), and by small non-game birds (especially robins and pileated woodpeckers). Leaves abruptly short-pointed at the tip, shiny; twigs have a continuous pith marked by distinct partitions; staminate flowers in spherical clusters, pistillate, 2-several in leaf axils. Form-balled and burlapped, seedlings, seeds. Cultivated for its colorful autumn foliage. The pleasantly acid fruits can be used as a masticatory (Fernald et al., 1958) or can be used for making preserves (Medsger, 1939). Eyde, R. H. 1963. Morphological and paleobotanical studies of the Nyssaceae, I. A survey of the modern species and their fruits. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 44: 1-59. Eyde, R. H. 1966. The Nyssaceae in the southeastern United States. Journal of the Arnold Arboretum 47: 117-125. Leaves are abruptly long-pointed at the tip, shiny, hairy on the lower surface; brachlets are usually breaking when turned at right angles; twigs have a continuous pith marked by distinct partitions; staminate flowers are in spherical clusters, pistillate, 2-several in leaf axils. Terrestrial furbearers eat fruit as food. Regarding above food value, this pertains especially to woodducks, robins, pileated woodpeckers and aquatic furbearers.

Functional Relationships:

  • Pollinators insects (insect)

Human Relationships:

  • Edibility [?] : yes
  • Showy Flowers: low

Wildlife and Livestock Information:

  • Food Value:
  • Cover Value: small non-game bird: good; small mammals: good

Coefficient of Conservatism (C-value) [?] :

  • Entire State: 7
  • Chicago Area: 8

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