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Gymnocladus dioicus

Kentucky coffeetree add to wishlist

Plant types and subtypes: Trees & Shrubs, Trees, Deciduous

Light Requirements: sun, part-sun, part-shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: neutral, rich, loam, sand

Height: 60'-80'

Bloom Time: May, June

Bloom Color: white, green

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: colonizing, drought tolerant, edible, fall interest, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, poisonous, shade tree

Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky coffeetree)
  • Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky coffeetree)
  • Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky coffeetree)
  • Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky coffeetree)
  • Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky coffeetree)

Pricing & Availability

Description

Gymnocladus dioicus

Also known as:

Kentucky coffeetree

,

Scientific Synonyms:

Description

Gymnocladus dioicus is easily recognizable by its rough, scaly, dark brown bark, and by its large bipinnate compound leaves that give it a tropical feel. Flowers are yellowish green, somewhat showy and fragrant. Plants are dioecious, meaning the trees will be either male or female. Female trees produce dark brown bean pods that will persist through winter. Leaves turn yellow and drop without much fanfare. New foliage appears late in spring, and drops early in fall, leaving the tree bare for about half the year. The genus name is from Greek gymnos meaning naked, and cladus meaning branch.

Cultivation

This species is easy to grow in rich, well-drained soils. Avoid heavy clays. Trees tend to produce suckers, which should be removed unless the creation of a thicket is desired. Mature specimens make good shade trees for open spaces, lawns or parks. It does well in sand-based loam, and is adaptable to urban environments where it will tolerate air pollution and salty runoff from the streets. Male trees are often more desirable because of their lack of fruit. Blooms May or June. Zones 4-8

Propagation

Propagate by root division, transplanting suckers, or from scarified seed.

Additional Notes

The raw bean-like seeds are very toxic. They are however edible once cooked, and where often roasted as a coffee substitute. Trees produce high quality, reddish-brown lumber, that can be used in cabinetry.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, CT, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: NY

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Fabales
Family Fabaceae Pea family
Genus Gymnocladus coffeetree
Species Gymnocladus dioicus Kentucky coffeetree