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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 12 | Nyssaceae

1. Nyssa aquatica Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1058. 1753.

Water tupelo, cotton gum Water tupelo, cotton gum

Trees, (6–)10–30 m, <base buttressed, proximal limbs spreading to slightly drooping>, crown irregular; bark irregularly fissured; twigs puberulent; <pith white>. Leaves: petiole 30–60 mm; blade elliptic to ovate, 8–11(–18) × (2.5–)3.5–5.5(–7.3) cm, herbaceous, base cuneate to rounded, margins entire proximally and usually coarsely dentate distally, apex usually acute, rarely acuminate, often mucronulate, abaxial surface glabrous or puberulent especially along veins, adaxial surface glabrous or sparsely hairy. Inflorescences: peduncle 1–1.5 cm (elongating to 3 cm in fruit), glabrous; staminate (1–)2–5-flowered, pistillate and bisexual 1–2-flowered. Staminate pedicels absent. Flowers: ovary densely hairy. Drupes black to blue or reddish purple, glaucous, oblong, 24–27 mm, punctate; stone 15–20 mm, roughened, often longitudinally ridged.

Flowering spring. Swamps, floodplain forests, moist woods; 0–100 m; Ala., Ark., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ky., La., Miss., Mo., N.C., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va.

SELECTED REFERENCE Shea, M. M., P. M. Dixon, and R. R. Sharitz. 1993. Size differences, sex ratio, and spatial distribution of male and female water tupelo, Nyssa aquatica (Nyssaceae). Amer. J. Bot. 80: 26–30.


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