The tupelos are deciduous trees of North America, with characteristics so nearly allied that I have called them only two distinct varieties. They produce an agreeable, fragrant flower early in the spring, and are well described and beautifully expressed by Cowper:
"Though leafless, well attired, and thick beset With blushing wreathes, investing every spray."
This tree is middle-sized, and is found from Massachusetts to Illinois, and from thence south to the Gulf of Mexico. It is raised from seed generally, but the first year the seed does not vegetate. Its grain is so interwoven that I am afraid even the patience of Job, famed in Biblical history, would give way under such a task, and he would fall from grace, or, in other words, he would swear, had he been compelled to cut some of the black gum. It is held in high estimation as wagon-hubs, rollers, and cylinders; it is also fit for turning-work, and, to my notion, would make first-class ornamental work, as the glue-pot would not have to come into requisition so often to glue together some of the parts in our furniture. It is very hard to transplant unless removed wholly or carefully root-pruned in the nursery. This tree has quite a variety of names; some of them are as follows: Gum-tree, yellow gum-tree, sour gum-tree, pepperidge-tree, wild pear-tree, etc. The berries of this tree are small, blue-colored, and afford myriads of robins their daily sustenance. It sometimes attains a height of fifty or sixty feet, and is found only in moist or damp places. It is used in Virginia to make mauls, and in ship-building.