With tremendous wildlife value, Black Gum supports myriad creatures. If you like the idea of planting trees that give back to nature, Black Gum is a must. Spring flowers, while diminutive, are coveted by bees seeking nectar. Flowers are abundant and a siren call early in the season. Honey derived from Tupelo trees (Nyssa spp.) is considered to be some of the best and rarest kinds of honey boasting a rich, buttery flavor with traces of cinnamon and a light floral scent.
Black Gum supports the False Underwing Moth (Allotria elonympha), the Azalea Sphinx Moth (Darapsa pholus), and The Hebrew Moth (Polygrammate hebraeicum).
Birds, including Wood Ducks, Wild Turkeys, Starlings, Brown Thrashers, Robins, Wood Thrush, Cedar Waxwings, and Pileated Woodpeckers, enjoy the fall fruit ahead of migration. Black Bear, Gray Fox, Opossum, Raccoons, Fox Squirrels, and Gray Squirrels also enjoy the fruit. White-Tailed Deer will sometimes snack on twigs and foliage if nothing more appetizing is available.
When planted near streams, rivers, and bodies of water, beavers will use the wood of the Black Gum as food and construction materials. Older Black Gum tends to develop deep cavities, which make excellent housing for small mammals and birds, as well as tree frogs, reptiles, and bats.
Black Gum is polygamo-dioecious, meaning that it’s primarily dioecious with male and female reproductive organs on separate plants; however, there is the possibility that perfect flowers exist on male trees explaining the occasional fruit set. In any case, if fruit is desired, it’s best to plant multiples.