The Kentucky coffeetree's tolerance to pollution and a wide range of soils makes it a suitable tree for urban environments. Native to the Midwest, this tree bears leathery, reddish-brown seed pods that add winter interest to the Midwestern landscape.
- Chicago area
- North America
- City parkway
- Wide median
- Restricted sites
- Residential and parks
- Large tree (more than 40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Zone 3
- Zone 4
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Zone 8
- Messy fruit/plant parts
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Persistent fruit/seeds
- Fragrant flowers
- Spring blossoms
- Late spring
Size and Form
50 to 60 feet high and 40 to 50 feet wide; irregular and sparsely branched.
Tree & Plant Care
Transplant in sites with deep, rich, moist soil.
Consider male cultivars to avoid messy fruit.
Disease, pests, and problems
No serious pests.
The trees leaves and seeds are poisonous.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Tolerant of high pH, drought, and pollution.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to the Midwest.
Bark color and texture
Bark is dark brown; rough, becoming scaly with curved edges.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, texture, and color
Alternate, doubly compound leaves; with numerous leaves; lowest set of leaflets simple.
Leaflets, oval with entire margins and blue green color; mild yellow fall color.
The whole leaf is 36 inches long and 24 inches wide.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Long (8 to 10 inch) spike-like clusters of greenish white flowers; male and female flowers on separate trees.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
5 to 10 inch long, red-brown, leathery pods containing a few large rounded seeds on female trees.
Male trees are seedless.
Cultivars and their differences
Espresso (Gymnocladus dioicus 'Espresso'): Arching branches provide a vase-shape; male cultivar.
Prairie Titan™ (Gymnocladus dioicus ‘J.C McDaniel)’: An upright, spreading male selection.