Kentucky Coffeetree

Arbor walk #7, Treekeeper ID #2253

This tree is a “seedless” variety of the native 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 when 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 dioicus
Indigenous Name(s)
Cultivar/Variety ‘Espresso-JFS’
Commercial NameESPRESSO

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