Leaves and fruit of blackgum | Photo credit: Larry Korhnak, University of Florida
Blackgum can reach up to 80 feet tall on moist sites, but are often shorter in the mountains. It is shade tolerant and typically grows in the understory rather than as a dominant tree.
Blackgum is generally found with other hardwood species such as black cherry, dogwood, eastern hophornbeam, and yaupon. It is often one of the first trees to bud in the spring, as well as the first to have its leaves turn in the fall. This tree is also sometimes called "black tupelo."