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Kentucky coffee tree

Gymnocladus dioica

Kentucky coffee tree

Native to areas of North America, Kentucky coffee tree is a relatively slow grower that eventually reaches 70 feet tall or so. It offers finely divided blue-green leaves that cast light shade. It's also a tough tree, holding up well to dry conditions, alkaline soil, and even a bit of salt. The plant grows best in moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter.

Kentucky coffee tree is probably best known for its seeds, which were reportedly roasted and used to make a hot beverage. However, the seeds and shoots of this plant are poisonous. Male and female flowers appear on different trees, and only female trees bear the pods.

Note: Kentucky coffee tree is one of the last trees to leaf out in spring, so don't be alarmed if yours is slow.

Plant Type:
Plant Height:
To 70 feet tall
Plant Width:
To 50 feet wide
Landscape Uses:
Special Features:
Fall Color,Winter Interest,Drought Tolerant
Stem Cuttings