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Tupelo Sour Gum Pepperidge




=Habitat and Range.=--In rich, moist soil, in swamps and on the borders

of rivers and ponds.



Ontario.



Maine,--Waterville on the Kennebec, the most northern station

yet reported (Dr. Ezekiel Holmes); New Hampshire,--most

common in the Merrimac valley, seldom seen north of the White

mountains; Vermont,--occasional; Massachusetts, Rhode Island,

and Connecticut,--rather common.



South to Florida; west to Michigan, Missouri, and Texas.



=Habit.=--Tree 20-50 feet high, with a trunk diameter of 1-2 feet,

rising in the forest to the height of 60-80 feet; attaining greater

dimensions farther south; lower branches horizontal or declining, often

touching the ground at their tips, the upper horizontal or slightly

rising, angular, repeatedly subdividing; branchlets very numerous, short

and stiff, making a flat spray; head extremely variable, unique in

picturesqueness of outline; usually broad-spreading, flat-topped or

somewhat rounded; often reduced in Nantucket and upon the southern shore

of Cape Cod to a shrub or small tree of 10-15 feet in height, forming

low, dense, tangled thickets. Foliage very abundant, dark lustrous

green, turning early in the fall to a brilliant crimson.



=Bark.=--Trunk of young trees grayish-white, with irregular and shallow

striations, in old trees darker, breaking up into somewhat hexagonal or

lozenge-shaped scales; branches smooth and brown; season's shoots

reddish-green, with a few minute dots.



=Winter Buds and Leaves.=--Buds ovoid, 1/8-1/4 inch long, obtuse. Leaves

simple, irregularly alternate, often apparently whorled when clustered

at the ends of the shoots, 2-5 inches long, one-half as wide; at first

bright green beneath, dullish-green above, becoming dark glossy green

above, paler beneath, obovate or oblanceolate to oval; entire, few or

obscurely toothed, or wavy-margined above the center; apex more or less

abruptly acute; base acutish; firm, smooth, finely sub-veined; stem

short, flat, grooved, minutely ciliate, at least when young; stipules

none.



=Inflorescence.=--May or early June. Appearing with the leaves in

axillary clusters of small greenish flowers, sterile and fertile usually

on separate trees, sometimes on the same tree,--sterile flowers in

simple or compound clusters; calyx minutely 5-parted, petals 5, small or

wanting; stamens 5-12, inserted on the outside of a disk; pistil none:

fertile flowers larger, solitary, or several sessile in a bracted

cluster; petals 5, small or wanting; calyx minutely 5-toothed.



=Fruit.=--Drupes 1-several, ovoid, blue black, about 1/2 inch long,

sour: stone striated lengthwise.



=Horticultural Value.=--Hardy throughout New England; adapts itself

readily to most situations but prefers deep soil near water. Seldom

offered in nurseries and difficult to transplant unless frequently

root-pruned or moved; collected plants do not thrive well; seedlings are

raised with little difficulty. Few trees are of greater ornamental

value.






1. Winter buds.

2. Branch with sterile flowers.

3-4. Sterile flowers.

5. Branch with fertile flowers.

6. Fertile flower.

7. Fruiting branch.






Next: Persimmon

Previous: Flowering Dogwood Boxwood



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