Another noteworthy feature is the fine form of
this 90' tall native–it ultimately forms a pyramid, with slender
branches in elegant horizontal tiers, lower ones often drooping to the
ground. Its ultimate height is reached at a moderate pace–reaching
perhaps 30' after 20 years. Most importantly the Tupelo is resistant
to pests and diseases.
A fine native tree with brilliant autumn color, an interesting silhouette, and the ability to endure adverse conditions. It often occurs in moist environments but tolerates moderately well drained upland soils equally well – though it is not considered drought tolerant. Deep glossy green leaves emerge with a slight purple cast in spring. They are elliptical and entire and pleasantly non-descript until autumn when they become flaming demons of fiery red, orange, and occasionally verging towards yellow. It is for this flamboyant show the Tupelo is most prized.
Inconspicuous green flowers occur in tight clusters in spring. If the polygamo-dioecious flowers (unisexual flowers but sometimes both male & female flowers occur on same tree) are successfully pollinated then blue to black fruit will follow, ripening in late summer and providing tasty morsels for songbirds.