Botanical Name: Gymnocladus dioicus
Common Name: Kentucky Coffeetree  
Plant photo of: Gymnocladus dioicus
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Water Saving Tip:

In general, lawns only need to be watered once every three days.

Check your irrigation controller and reduce watering times if necessary.

  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type



Height Range



Flower Color



Flower Season



Leaf Color

Blue Green


Bark Color

Brown, Grey


Fruit Color



Fruit Season

Winter, Fall, Persistent







Growth Rate



Soil Type

Sandy, Clay, Loam, Rocky, Unparticular


Soil Condition

Average, Rich, Poor, Well-drained, Dry


Soil pH

Acid, Neutral, Basic


Adverse Factors


Design Styles

Mediterranean, Ranch, Spanish, Tropical, Woodland


Accenting Features



Seasonal Interest

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall


Location Uses

Background, Lawn, Park, Parking Lot, Roadside, Street Tree


Special Uses

Screen, Shade Tree


Attracts Wildlife


Information by: Stephanie Duer
Photographer: Linda Engstrom
  • Description

  • Notes

Kentucky Coffeetree is a wonderful, durable, under-utilized deciduous tree that grows 45 to 60 feet tall and 25 to 40 feet wide. It is narrow in its youth, almost gawky, but grows into a broad, picturesque tree with age. The huge compound bluish green leaves emerge late in the spring, and have a tropical look. It has an open, airy canopy that casts a dappled shade. Female trees bear long, slender seed pods that create a contrasting texture among the leaves. For landscapes where the pods would be considered a nuisance rather than an ornamental feature, choose a male selection such as ‘Espresso.’
Grow in full sun and well drained soil. Kentucky Coffeetree is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions including alkaline soils, drought, heat, cold, and road salts. No insects and disease issues. Widespread across Eastern North America but common nowhere, it ranges as far west as Oklahoma and Nebraska and north to Ontario and south to Tennessee. Hardiness is USDA Zone 4. A legume, it fixes nitrogen and so thrives in poor, unfertile soils. The pods are a crafters delight.