Know Your Trees: Black Gum

This week for Know Your Trees, GM is exploring a lesser known tree that has started to be planted with a little more frequency around Georgetown: the black gum.

Black gum trees, otherwise known as black tupelos or simply tupelos, are medium sized deciduous trees that are native along almost the entire eastern seaboard. They can be identified by their relatively bright green medium sized leaves that have almost a stretched-out teardrop shape:

The tree also features a small black fruit that is actually edible:

The tree also features one of the more spectacular fall foliage displays, as the leaves turn to a bright red color:

Finally, the black gum is also famous for the honey produced by bees who collect the tree’s nectar. The honey is known as tupelo honey (tupelo is the name of the tree more favored in the South). The honey is famous for being the only honey that won’t crystalize. But due to the tree’s short flowering season, it is also one of the more difficult varieties of honey to find.

There are about two dozen black gums scattered around Georgetown, but there’s a clumping of them around N and 35th, if you’d like to check them out:

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