Plants by Common Name

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Plants by Scientific Name

Kentucky Coffee Tree, American Coffee Berry Tree (Gymnocladus dioica L.)

Kentucky Coffee Tree


Kentucky coffee tree is a large round-barked tree belonging to the legume family and reaches heights of 60 to 100 feet. Its short trunk, 1 to 2 feet in diameter, divides into several large branches that end in contorted, stout twigs. Twice-compound leaves are arranged feather-fashion in 3-7 pairs of leaflets which are more or less ovalish without marginal teeth and 2-4 inches long. The tree is most easity identified in fall and winter for its large deressed leaf scars. The leaf which emerges late in spring is made up of a hundred or more separate oval leaflets arranged on the branches of the rib. The flower, which blooms in May, is inconspicuous, greenish-white in terminal racemes, and has a tubular base about 1/2 inch long. Male and female flowers are found on the same tree. The fruit is a thick, flat pod, containing 4-7 flat broad seeds with a sticky pulp between them. The pulp dries at maturity and the seeds become olive-brown, 1/2 - 3/4 inches in diameter. Kentucky Coffee Tree Foliage