Black gum or tupelo, a tree of the eastern United States is typically noted for its horizontal branching and its leaves that turn to bright burgundy and eventually to intense bright scarlet in fall. Bark on older trees resembles alligator hide. The dark blue, sour fruits are a favorite of birds.
The limbs are prone to decay and create cavity homes for small wildlife including squirrel, opossums and honeybees. The black gum blossoms are considered to be the source of the best honey in North America.