October 14, 2021

County Executive Elrich Recommends Black Tupelo as New County Tree and Newest Addition to List of County Symbols

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich is recommending, through legislation, the designation of the black tupelo as the newest County symbol. The black tupelo was selected for recommendation as a County tree based on a selection process conducted by the Forest Conservation Advisory Committee (FCAC) at the request of the Department of Environmental Protection.

The black tupelo, a common name for the Nyssa sylvatica and also known as blackgum, sourgum, pepperidge, tupelo and tupelo-gum, was unanimously supported by the FCAC. Along with Maryland’s State Tree, the white oak, the designation of black tupelo as Montgomery County’s tree will both celebrate the species and promote all trees.

The largest known black tupelo tree in Maryland is in Silver Spring. In 2019, the tree measured 5 ½ feet in diameter, was 94 feet tall and had a spread of 94 feet. Experts believe this tree is at least 120 years old.

“The black tupelo is resilient, beautiful, and critical to our County’s ecosystem and tree canopy—a perfect symbol for Montgomery County as our official tree,” said County Executive Elrich. “Trees have a positive influence on nearly all aspects of our lives. From lowering summertime temperatures—thereby reducing need for energy and reducing air pollution—to improving our health and sense of well-being, trees are a key part of our climate action plan. It is my honor to recommend the black tupelo as the official Montgomery County tree and I thank Forest Conversation Advisory Committee for this recommendation.”

The black tupelo, native to Montgomery County and most of the eastern United States, is available in most local nurseries and through Tree Montgomery, a program that provides and plants free shade trees across the County. The black tupelo is one of the most requested trees of the Tree Montgomery program as it is a large and long-lived shade tree commonly found across the County. It is resilient to pests and diseases and popular for pollinators and most wildlife. It is small cherry-like fruit are favorites for birds. The black tupelo’s lustrous dark green leaves change to fluorescent yellow, orange, scarlet and purple each fall.

“As we look for ways to improve our environment and surroundings, planting native trees is a priority,” said DEP Director Adam Ortiz. “Through programs such as Tree Montgomery, the Department of Environmental Protection continues to work with residents and our business community to encourage and support shade tree plantings in our County. With the naming of the black tupelo as the County tree, we hope to bring more awareness to the important role that trees and tree canopies have for addressing climate change.”

The legislation submitted to the Council modifies the County’s current law to designate an official tree alongside the already designated robin as the County bird and dogwood as the County blossom.

For information on where to get a black tupelo tree visit:
For more information on champion and big trees in Maryland and Montgomery County visit: