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Tree Browser

With these characteristics: None

Gymnocladus dioicus

Coffeetree, Kentucky

Fabaceae - Legume

Description

Leaves: Alternate; twice pinnately compound; very large, can be 2'' to 3'' long; deciduous; 20 to 40 ovate leaflets, 1-1/2" long, pointed at tip, entire margins, glabrous; dark blue-green; yellow fall color.

Twigs/buds: Twigs very stout; brown; glabrous or velvety; pith is wide and salmon-pink.  No terminal bud; lateral buds deeply sunken in the bark; brown; hairy; 2 at each leaf scar.

Flowers/fruit: Flowers dioecious (some are perfect), greenish-white, attractive; borne in large groups but not very conspicuous.  Fruit a flat legume; red-brown; leathery; pointed; 4" to 6" long by 1-3/4" wide; remaining closed until or through winter; contains 4 to 8 olive-brown, 1/2" diameter, flat, very-hard seeds imbedded in a sweet pulp.

Bark: Smooth and brown to gray on younger branches; on older stems turning gray, furrowed, with curved scales.

Wood: Unimportant; sapwood yellow; heartwood red; growth rings conspicuous; ring-porous; rays not conspicuous to naked eye.

General: A fairly large tree native to most of the central-eastern U.S.  Never very common naturally.  Seeds ground and used as a coffee substitute by early settlers where native.  Well-adapted to a variety of climates and soils.  Shade intolerant.  Fruit and/or plant part can be nuisances; use fruitless varieties if possible.

Landscape Use: An excellent landscape tree that is seldom planted, but should be more often.  Its stout twigs give it an interesting coarse texture in winter, and the dark blue-green foliage is very nice.  The bark also is very attractive.  The pods make it somewhat messy, but usually are not abundant.  Zones 3-8.

Cultivars: 'Espresso', 'Prairie Titan', 'Stately Manor'. 

Characteristics

General

Family:
Fabaceae - Legume
Cultivar Availability:
Yes
Hardiness Zone:
3-8
Type:
Broadleaf
Utah Native:
No

Growth

Growth Rate:
Medium
Mature Height:
High
Longevity:
High
Is Good Under Power Lines:
No
Crown Shape:
Rounded

Ornamental

Bark:
Yes
Fall Color:
Yes
Flowers:
No
Foliage:
Yes
Fruit:
Yes

Tolerence

Shade:
Medium
Salt:
Medium
Drought:
High
Poor Drainage:
Medium
Alkalinity:
High
Transplanting:
Medium