Also called sour gum, Nyssa sylvatica is a slow growing deciduous tree native to eastern North America. In a native setting, blackgum is primarily a lowland tree that can be found near water bodies, and wetland areas. Blackgum is a medium to large species with the ability to grow to 80 feet tall at maturity.

The obovate leaves are 3 to 5 inches in length, with a smooth margin and are alternately arranged. The leaves turn a florescent orange and scarlet in the fall, but unfortunately they do not persist on the tree for very long. The blackgum flower is not aesthetically noteworthy, however it serves as an important source of pollen for bees.

Blackgum prefer moist, well drained acidic soils, and full sun, but can tolerate poorly-drained soils and standing water for periods. Ideal planting locations for this species can include ponds or stream edges, as well as areas with poorly drained soils, or areas that are subject to periodic flooding.