Gymnocladus dioicus (Kentucky Coffee) is a very adaptable and attractive suburban and urban street tree. Leathery pods on female trees contain little seeds. Native Americans and early settlers roasted and brewed those seeds into a coffee-like drink, thus the name. Native American also roasted the seeds for food, unroasted seeds are extremely toxic and should not be consumed fresh or raw from the tree. These red-brown seed pods of the Kentucky Coffee Tree can add interest in the drab winter months. This tree leafs out and drops its leaves earlier than most other trees, but its uniquely stout branch structure make up for this lazy sleeper. Also, when younger, it is a quick grower so if you are looking for an insta-tree, this could be the one!
This tree is found in nature in floodplains, riverbanks, and rich mesic woods.
Frequently Asked Questions
Photo 3: By Omar hoftun (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo #1 By: Simone Roda from Italia (Flickr.com - image description page) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.