Kentucky Coffeetree

Arbor walk #7, Treekeeper ID #2253

This tree is an improved “seedless” variety of the straight species. It is native to Missouri and the midwest. Early settlers of Kentucky used the tree’s seeds as a coffee substitute, hence its common name.

While it is true the early settlers used the seeds of this tree for coffee, it is important to note that eaten raw, the seeds are poisonous. Other than their seeds, one of this tree’s most intriguing features are its doubly compound leaves. While it may at first glance seem that this tree has many small individual leaves, these are actually leaflets. When looking at where the bud of the leaf is, everything above the bud is a part of the one leaf. Unfortunately, although these trees are common, their population is declining due to over harvesting.

Common NameKentucky Coffeetree
Latin NameGymnocladus diocus
Indigenous Name(s)
Cultivar/Variety ‘Espresso-JFS’
Commercial NameESPRESSO

Take a Look Around

More about Tree #7:

Where to find Arbor Walk #7

Data on the space around this tree

Data on this tree over time

More about the Kentucky Coffeetree in general:

How to identify Kentucky Coffeetree

Relationship of Gymnocladus diocus to other species in the Arboretum

Global Distribution of Kentucky Coffeetree

Additional Resources on the Kentucky Coffeetree