Tupelo Sour Gum Pepperidge
=Habitat and Range.=--In rich, moist soil, in swamps and on the borders
of rivers and ponds.
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
=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
1. Winter buds.
2. Branch with sterile flowers.
3-4. Sterile flowers.
5. Branch with fertile flowers.
6. Fertile flower.
7. Fruiting branch.