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Kentucky Coffeetree   arrow

Gymnocladus dioicus (jim-nok’-la-dus dy-o-ee’-kus)
Family: Fabaceae, Pea

Key Steps


Kentucky Coffeetree leafLeaf: Each leaflet 2 to 2 1/2 inches long, broadest at base, pointed tip, smooth margin. 5-14 leaflets stalk, each with 3-7 pairs of leaflets. Entire leaf is 36 inches long by 24 inches wide. Dark green.

Bud: Silky, sunken into stem. May be above one another. 2 dark brown scales visible. Terminal bud false.

Leaf Scar: Large, sunken into stem, heart-shaped. 3-5 bundle scars.

Stem: Very stout, contorted. Dense, short hairs when young. Reddish-brown. Orange lenticels.

Pith: Salmon-pine or reddish. Wide.

Flower: Loose, terminal panicle in May or June. Female: 12 inches long. Male: 4 inches long. Usually separate trees.

Fruit: Leathery, olive-brown pod, 5-10 inches long, persistent. Hard shell. Large round seeds.

Habit: Large, dense shade tree. Upright, narrow at base, wider at top. To 40 feet tall. Interesting branching pattern in winter.

Culture: Low water requirement once established. Full sun. Well drained soils. Prone to snow loading damage.