Nyssa is a useful and highly decorative tree, well suited to planting near lawns or other sites where it will receive plenty of water. Broadly conical, it is 30-50 feet in cultivation, taller in the wild, with right angle branching from the trunk. These are undemanding and rewarding trees. Glossy four inch leaves are a little wider towards the tip. Fresh looking through the summer, there are few other plants that present a brighter autumn display. Brilliant red, orange and yellow foliage is spectacular. Small greenish flowers bloom in summer and are followed by dark bluish-purple drupes in the fall. Fruit set is better if more than one tree is present. Many birds eat the pulp of the large-pitted fruit, including wood ducks, robins, and some woodpeckers.
Grow Nyssa in loamy soil, and in hot summer areas, light shade. Give it good drainage and once it's established, don't disturb it. Nyssa will accept swampy sites and tolerates wind. It should be moved when young.
Zones: 3 to 9
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