Identification: Black gum trees are 30-80' (9.1-24 m) tall
and 20-30' (6.1-9.1 m) wide. The trunks are 20-39" (50-100 cm) in diameter. Dark gray bark
becomes deeply cracked and scaly in appearance on older trees. Leaves are
approximately oval-shaped, wider toward the end of the leaf, 1¾-4½" (5-12 cm) long. They are
somewhat to very shiny, dark green, and typically smooth-edged.
In the fall, leaves become dark purple or scarlet. Inconspicuous flowers are greenish-white,
though they do have the rather unusual distinction of being polygamo-dioecious, in case you are
keeping track. (This means that trees have mostly either male or female flowers, but a few of the
opposite sex as well, yet another variation in the confusing sexuality of plants.)
Fruits are black or blue in color, about ⅜" (1 cm) long.