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Nyssa Linnaeus. Tupelo, Sour Gum, Black Gum.

Key to Nyssa

A genus of about 8-10 species, trees and shrubs, of e. North America, e. Asia, se. Asia, and Central America. The only other members of the genus are 2-4 e. and se. Asian species and a single species of Costa Rica (Hammel & Zamora 1990; Wen & Stuessy 1993).

ID notes: Nyssa sylvatica is often mistaken (especially as seedlings, saplings, or fire-sprouts) for Diospyros virginiana, because of their similar, alternate, glossy-green, acuminate leaves. Nyssa can be distinguished by its three vascular bundle scars per leaf scar (vs. one Diospyros), leaves often with a few irregular teeth (vs. never toothed), leaves pale to medium green beneath (vs whitish-green beneath), leaves lacking reddish to dark glands on the midrib above and the petiole (vs. present), and leaves glabrous or nearly so below (vs. glabrate to tomentose with curly hairs) (McKenney 1967).

Ref: Burckhalter (1992); Eyde (1966); McKenney (1967); Tucker & Park (2016) In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2016); Ward (2001); Wen & Stuessy (1993); Zhou et al. (2018); Zhou, Xiang, & Wen (2020). Show full citations.

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image of plant© Keith Bradley | Nyssa biflora | Original Image ⭷
image of plant© Keith Bradley | Nyssa sylvatica | Original Image ⭷