Tupelo Trees in Fall colors. The tupelo or pepperidge tree, genus Nyssa is a small genus of about 9 to 11 species of trees with alternate, simple leaves. It is usually included in the subfamily Nyssoideae of the dogwood family, Cornaceae, but is placed by some authorities in the family Nyssaceae. Most species are highly tolerant of wet soils and flooding, and some need such environments as habitat. Five of the species are native to eastern North America from the extreme south of Canada south to eastern Mexico; the others are found in east and south Asia from China south to Malaysia and west to the Himalaya. A related genus, Davidia, the Dove tree, occurs in China.