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Common Name: Water Tupelo
Nyssa aquatica is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 30.00 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials.
South-eastern N. America - Virginia to Florida, west to Illinois and Texas.
Swamps, bottomlands, or sites periodically under water, in soils ranging from clay to rich silts[
Although this is a plant of swamps and other wet soils in the wild, once established it can succeed in Britain when growing in an ordinary good loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[
]. This plant probably requires a very wet soil, it is very difficult to establish in Britain, though it should be hardy at least in the milder parts of the country. It prefers a neutral to alkaline soil[
Plants are fast-growing in well-drained bottomlands in the wild, but slower in swampy sites[
]. They are long-lived trees, commencing to bear seeds when about 30 years old and usually producing heavy crops each year[
]. The seed is mainly distributed by water[
Resents root disturbance[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
Fruit - occasionally eaten raw but more often used in preserves[
]. The fruit is up to 4cm long, it has a thick, tough skin with a thin acid flesh surrounding a large seed[
The wood of the roots is sometimes used for making floats instead of cork[
A red dye can be obtained from the burnt bark mixed with water and the ash of red oak (Quercus rubra)[
Wood - light, close-grained, soft, difficult to split[
]. Tough according to one report[
], weak according to another[
]. It has an intricately contorted and twisted grain[
]. It weighs 29lb per cubic foot[
], and is used for various things such as panelling, broom handles, woodenware and crates[
]. It is sometimes exploited commercially[
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 5°c 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.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame.