Susan Kossuth and Robert L. Scheer
Ogeechee tupelo (Nyssa ogeche), also called Ogeechee-lime, sour tupelo-gum, white tupelo, and bee-tupelo (3), is a scarce small tree or much branched shrub found along rivers and swamps of the Coastal Plain in constantly wet soils that are often flooded. The wood is of little value, but the mature fruits and their juice are used by people. It is also an important honey tree.
Much of the information given here was contributed by L. T. Nieland, formerly State Extension Forester, Gainesville, FL, who observed Ogeechee tupelo for many years in its natural habitat and experimented with its cultivation for farm use.
Regularity: Regularly occurring
-The native range of Ogeechee tupelo.
Soils and Topography
Where waters back up and stand for long periods after the main flood has subsided, as in second bottoms, Ogeechee tupelo is usually a tall, deliquescent shrub or a dwarfed tree. It seldom attains tree form very far from natural stream channels. Generally it grows best and is most abundant at an elevation of only a few centimeters above the average water level and is infrequently found more than 0.3 to 0.6 m (1 to 2 ft) above the average water level of the streams along which it grows.
Associated Forest Cover
Reaction to Competition
Life History and Behavior
Under favorable conditions seedlings have attained a height of 0.6 cm (2 ft) or more during the first growing season. One group of about 200 seedlings left in nursery rows along a lake shore in north Florida averaged 1.2 to 1.8 in (4 to 6 ft) in height after 2 years.
Seed Production and Dissemination
The fruit falls to the ground and into the water beneath the parent tree, and most seed dissemination is undoubtedly quite local. Birds and small animals may carry seed some distance, however. Some seed is waterborne, as drifts of the fruit may be found at previous high waterlines following floods. Fresh, undamaged fruit and the seeds from it usually sink in water (5). Fruit and seeds that have dried a little will float. Cleaned seed range from 2,290 to 3,130/kg (1,040 to 1,420/lb), averaging 2,710/kg (1,230/lb).
Flowering and Fruiting
The fruit is an edible, oblong-shaped red drupe, 3 to 4 cm (1.0 to 1.5 in) long, containing an acid flesh. Each drupe contains one, rarely two, 3 cm (I in) long seed with a papery, pale seedcoat. Ogeechee tupelo has the largest fruit in the genus. It matures in July and August but persists until November and December after the leaves have fallen (4).
Growth and Yield
The trees are probably short lived, although reliable information is lacking. When the original stems weaken or die, sprouts develop from their root crowns. These evidently produce a vigorous root system of their own, thus prolonging the life of the individual tree for a considerable time and resulting in the thicketlike growth frequently seen.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Nyssa ogeche
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Nyssa ogeche
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
The wood is light (specific gravity of 0.46), soft, tough but not strong. It is coarse grained, difficult to split and of little value (4).
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2014)|
Nyssa ogeche, commonly referred to as white tupelo, river lime, ogeechee lime tree, sour gum or wild lime is a decidious tree. Growing to 15 m (49 ft 3 in), it is in flower from March to May, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The flowers are pollinated by bees. It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Ogeechee tupelo requires a very moist site and is distributed along the borders of rivers, swamps, and ponds that are frequently inundated. It grows naturally from the borders of South Carolina near the coast through the Ogeechee Valley in Georgia to Clay County in northern Florida and Washington County in western Florida. It is found in abundance along the Ogeechee, Altamaha, and Suwannee Rivers, and in certain wet flatwood regions between the Choctawhatchee and Wakulla Rivers of Florida. In its Florida range it is less than 1 percent of the woody plant population.
The wood is light (specific gravity of 0.46), soft, tough but not strong. It is coarse grained, difficult to split and of little value. The tree is too rare and small to be economically important.
The mature fruit, known as Ogeechee lime, has a subacid flavor. It is made into preserves and is also used in making a beverage. The fruit is produced in small clusters of 2 - 3, it is up to 4 centimeters long, has a thick, juicy, very acidic flesh and contains a single seed.
Thousands of hectares of Ogeechee tupelo have been planted in bee farms along the lower Apalachicola River and around swamps where it grows naturally. The honey made from the nectar is known as "tupelo honey."
- "Ogeechee Lime - Nyssa ogeche - USDA Plant files". plants.usda.gov ldate=2007-06-12. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
- "Ogeche Tree - Nyssa ogeche - Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation". dendro.cnre.vt.edu ldate=2010-06-12. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
- "Ogeechee Tupelo Honey - Nyssa ogeche - Tupelo Bee Keepers". TupeloBeeKeepers.com ldate=2011-07-12. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
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