A genus of North American and Asian trees of the family Cornaceae, having small greenish flowers, berry-like fruits, and often colourful foliage in the autumn; (also nyssa) a tree of this genus; especially the black gum, Nyssa sylvatica.
Valid publication of the genus name: Linnaeus Species Plantarum (1753) II. 1058, after earlier use by J. F. Gronovius (1686–1762), cited in Linnaeus Systema Naturae (1735), and published in J. F. Gronovius Flora Virginica (1739–43) 121.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in New & Complete Dictionary Arts & Science. From post-classical Latin Nyssa, genus name from classical Latin Nȳsa (ancient Greek Νῦσα, Νύσσα), the name of the nurse of Bacchus, said by Hyginus (Fabulae 182) to be a water nymph: thus in allusion to the swamp habitat of some species.