Kentucky Coffeetree

Kentucky Coffeetree

Gymnocladus dioicus

  • Height: 50’ - 70’
  • Spread: 40’ - 50’
  • Site characteristics: Moist, well-drained soils; full sun
  • Zone: 3 - 8
  • Wet/dry: Tolerates soils from occasionally wet to dry
  • Native range: Central United States
  • pH: 6.8 - 7.2
  • Shape: Irregular, open oval to obovate crown
  • Foliage: Large, bipinnate (fern-like) compound leaves; blue-green in summer
  • Other: “Dioecious”: male and female trees; fragrant (female only), greenish-white flowers; female trees produce reddish-brown seed pods that persist into winter and can be a problem; tree has winter interest with coarse, irregular branching.
  • Additional: Tolerates alkaline soils, salt, wind and urban conditions (air pollution). Male cultivars: ‘Espresso’ and ‘J.C. McDaniels.’ Transplants easily.
  • Pests: Relatively pest-free; female seed pods can become a litter problem

Kentucky Coffeetree Gymnocladus dioicus leaves
Photos: Bert Cregg, MSU.

Kentucky Coffeetree seed pods
Photo: Bert Cregg, MSU.

Gymnocladus dioicus range map
Map indicates species’ native range. Source: U.S. Geological Survey.

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