Ogeechee Tupelo Tree



Botanical Name:  Nyssa ogeche

Common Name:  Ogeechee Tupelo, Ogeechee-Lime, Bee Tupelo, White Tupelo, Sour Tupelo-Gum, River Lime

Description:  This is the tree that delicious white Tupelo honey comes from! Not only is it a valuable tree for the honey bees, it’s native to Florida, and gives beautiful fall color before the leaves drop.

First discovered by William Bartram along the Ogeechee River in Georgia, Ogeechee Tupelo is a lovely tree which reaches 40 – 50 feet in height and is pyramidal when young, maturing to a spreading, flat-topped crown. The multiple, irregular branches emerge from a trunk covered with dark brown or grey, ridged bark, and the base of the tree often develops swollen buttress-type roots as it gets older. The four- to six-inch-long, dark green leaves are joined in early spring by dense, hanging clusters of small, white blooms. The 1.5-inch-long, showy red fruits on female trees are produced in abundance and ripen in autumn. The juice can be used as a substitute for limes, hence its common name, to make a lemonade-type drink, and to make preserves. In autumn the trees put on a brilliant display of colorful foliage ranging from vivid yellow to deep purple, which would make Ogeechee Tupelo a popular landscape choice. It can be used in as a shade tree, screen along wetland edges, or a street tree for use in parking lots and median strips.

Since it is most often found along streams and in low-lying areas which are regularly flooded in spring and winter, Ogeechee Tupelo prefers a moist site on acidic soil. It is well-adapted to sites which are wet for prolonged periods, once the tree becomes established. Located in sun, part sun, or part shade, Ogeechee Tupelo will easily adapt to somewhat drier locations but should be protected from harsh winds.  A long taproot makes it difficult to transplant, and this shade tree becomes quite large, so site this tree carefully.  Use this tree in a riparian area, pond margin, or a rain garden because it so easily withstands sites that have standing water.  It makes an addition to a wildlife garden as the flowers attract bees and songbirds to feast on the fruits in the fall.

Native Range: Ogeechee tupelo 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. the name comes from the location where it was discovered growing along the Ogeechee River in Georgia.

Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray.

This plant in 3-gallon containers is 2-4′ tall, not including the container.

Plant Lore:  Thousands of acres of Ogeechee tupelo have been planted in bee farms along the lower Apalachicola River and around swamps where it grows naturally. Nyssa ogeche was named by renowned botanist William Bartram in the book Arbustrum Americanum published in 1785.

Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9


Additional information

Container Size

15-gallon, 3-gallon, 7-gallon


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Ogeechee Tupelo Tree”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *