Tupelo or Black Gum


Not many people recognize me. I have many names:  some call me a tupelo tree, while others know me as a black gum or sour gum, a confusing name as I do not possess even an ounce of any sort of gum.

I am special! My wood is cross-grained, making me exceptionally tough. The early settlers used to complain how hard it was to split my wood lengthwise. I am so twisted and contorted that many people do not like me at all. But I do have some very special uses. My wood is perfect for maul heads, tool handles, plowshares wagon, wheel hubs, and rolling pins.

Did you know that hollow black gum trunks were used for hives for bees and storage bins?