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Nyssa aquatica


Nyssa aquatica, commonly called the water tupelo,<ref name=GRIN>Template:GRIN</ref> cottongum,<ref name=HortusIII>Template:Cite book</ref> wild olive,<ref name=HortusIII/> large tupelo,<ref name=HortusIII/> sourgum (correction: sourgum or Nyssa sylvatica grows in well-drained areas, not in swamps as Nyssa aquatica<ref>Nyssa sylvatica Marsh., Plant Fact Sheet https://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_nysy.pdf</ref>), tupelo-gum,<ref name=GRIN/> or water-gum,<ref name=GRIN/> is a large, long-lived tree in the tupelo genus (Nyssa) that grows in swamps and floodplains in the Southeastern United States.<ref name="usfs">Template:Silvics</ref>

Nyssa aquatica trunks have a swollen base that tapers up to a long, clear bole, and its root system is periodically under water.<ref name="usfs"/> Water tupelo trees often occurs in pure stands.


Nyssa aquatica's genus name (Nyssa) refers to a Greek water nymph;<ref name=Werthner>Template:Cite book</ref> the species epithet aquatica, meaning ‘aquatic’, refers to its swamp and wetland habitat.

One of the species' common names, tupelo, is of Native American origin, coming from the Creek words ito ‘tree’ and opilwa ‘swamp’; it was in use by the mid-18th century<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>


A large mature tree can produce commercial timber used for furniture and crates. The swollen base of the Nyssa aquatica is the source of a favored wood of wood carvers.

Many kinds of wildlife eat the fruit, and it is a favored honey tree.<ref name="usfs"/>

Swollen trunk base, in swamp habitat
Nyssa aquatica foliage

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