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Kentucky Coffee Tree

Kentucky Coffee Tree - Form Kentucky Coffee Tree - Bark Kentucky Coffee Tree - Leaf
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Kentucky Coffee Tree
G. Lumis

Bark of Kentucky Coffee Tree
G. Lumis

Leaf of Kentucky Coffee Tree
G. Lumis

Scientific Name: Gymnocladus dioicus
Other Common Names: coffeetree

Foliage: Broadleaf deciduous
Height: 50-70 feet
Spread: 40-50 feet
Shape: Oval, irregular
Growth Characteristics: Fast-growing when young, moderate- to slow-growing as it ages

An unofficial state tree of Kentucky, the Kentucky Coffee Tree is closely related to the honeylocust. Known as a tough, messy tree, it is ideal as a shade tree on larger, ungroomed properties. It got its name because early North American colonists used the large seeds to make coffee. When eaten raw, the seeds are poisonous. The double compound leaves measure up to 3 feet in length and 2 feet wide. The bark is deeply furrowed and dark brown in colour. It adapts well to urban conditions.

Plant Needs
Zone: 3-8
Light: Full sun 
Moisture: Tolerates drought and occasionally flooding
Soil Type: humus-rich, moist soil

Fertilize with formulations that promote woody, strong growth rather than excessive foliar growth. Longer, weaker branches should be pruned when young to promote a stronger structure.  

Relatively pest-free. Messy habit.