This site is for people who like plants -- growers, enthusiasts, aesthetes, novices and professionals, those who appreciate wild things and those who appreciate the cultivated. I garden in Chelsea, and I've been visiting people's yards for 20+ years in the course of my work. My goal is to make this blog a community project, so if you share my interests, please consider becoming a participant and contributing content -- Guerin. Info:

Monday, May 23, 2011


Here is a tupelo. Or blackgum. Or gum. Or Nyssa sylvatica.  A tree most easily recognized by its straight trunk ("strong apical dominance") and horizontal branches -- a habit more generally associated with conifers.

I've seen small stands of tupelo east of Milan in lake plain soil, and big specimens in Detroit in an old cemetery. But it is an infrequent denizen of the Ann Arbor area. Riverside Park (near Island Park) and Nichols Arboretum have some you can visit. The county bought some land out Scio Church Rd past Wagner that I've been told has some native trees. And I can describe how to find some along a little lake in the Waterloo Rec Area.

From the time I worked at an arboretum outside Philadephia, I recall tupelo as being a decent sized tree intermingled with oaks. Most of the ones I've seen locally start to conk out before they achieve any significant height. Even the one at my house (i.e., the tree in the picture) stopped growing any taller a couple years ago. I still love it. Best fall color is achieved if planted in full sun. And I believe tupelo honey is made from a swamp species found in the southern states along with baldcypress.

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