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Coffeetree, KentuckyGymnocladus dioicus

Coffeetree, Kentucky—Gymnocladus dioicus

Picturesque in summer and winter, coarse ascending branches often form a narrow crown. Oval leaflets emerge late in spring, changing from pinkish-tinged to a dark, almost blue-green. Tolerates most conditions, drought and pollution. Needs full sun. Grows to 60'-75' with a 45' spread. (Zones 3-8)

Zones 3 - 8
Zones 3 - 8

Hardiness Zones: Zones 3 - 8
The Kentucky Coffeetree can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map. (see map below)

Ornamental Tree
Ornamental Tree

Type of tree:
The Kentucky Coffeetree falls into the following type(s): Ornamental Trees, Shade Trees

60' - 75' High
60' - 75' High

Mature Height:
The Kentucky Coffeetree grows to be 60' - 75' feet in height.

40' - 50' Spread
40' - 50' Spread

Mature Spread:
The Kentucky Coffeetree has a spread of about 40' - 50' at full maturity.

Slow to Medium Growth
Slow to Medium Growth

Growth Rate:
This tree grows at a slow to medium growth rate. [More about this.]

Full Sun
Full Sun

Sun:
This coffeetree does well in full sun.

Various Soils
Various Soils

Soil:
The Kentucky Coffeetree grows in acidic, alkaline, drought tolerant, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well drained, wet, wide range, clay soils.

Oval Shape
Oval Shape

Shape:
This coffeetree has oval, rounded shape.

More Info
More Info


The Kentucky Coffeetree can be expected to grow in the zones shown on this map.

Attributes:
Resistant to disease and able to adapt to a wide variety of soils and climates, the Kentucky Coffeetree is an excellent choice for parks and golf courses. It is also widely used as an ornamental and street tree.

Description:
Picturesque in summer and winter, coarse ascending branches often form a narrow crown. Oval leaflets emerge late in spring, changing from pinkish-tinged to a dark, almost blue-green. Tolerates most conditions, drought and pollution. Needs full sun. Grows to 60'-75' with a 45' spread. (Zones 3-8)

Wildlife Value:
Sources disagree on which parts of the seed pods are edible. Although the seeds have been roasted to make a type of coffee, one source says the raw seeds are poisonous. The seed pulp is reportedly toxic to cattle, but it has been used in home remedies.

History/Lore/Use:
The Kentucky Coffeetree is native to the central states of America from Pennsylvania to Nebraska and from Minnesota to Oklahoma. This tree gets its name because early Kentucky settlers noticed the resemblance of its seeds to coffee beans. Timber from this tree tends to be brittle, but can be used for fence posts. In earlier times, its wood was used in the construction of railway sleeper cars.

Moisture:
It tolerates some wet soil, yet has extreme drought tolerance.

Leaves:
This tree has bipinnately compound, 2 to 3 inches long leaflets, light green in summer and yellow in autumn.

Flower Color:
Purplish flowers of the female tree have a rose-like fragrance. These mature into large, brownish seed pods containing large 3/4-inch bean-like seeds. Pods remain on the tree throughout the winter. Raw seeds are toxic to humans.

Bloom Time:
April-May..

Fruit Description:
This tree produces a pod, 5 to 10 inches long, dry, hard, green turning to brown.