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Kentucky Coffee Tree

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SCIENTIFIC NAME: Gymnocladus dioica
FAMILY: Fabaceae

This tree in Colorado A fairly large tree native to most of the central-eastern U.S. Kentucky coffee tree has a very interesting coarse texture because of the stout branches. This tree should be planted more in Colorado. The only draw back for this tree are the large seed pods on the female tree.

Hardiness Zones 3 to 8. Adapts well to a variety of climates and soils.

Growth rate Slow to medium. Once established, it can grow a foot or so per year in Colorado.

Foliage Large, bi-pinnately compound. Can be 2 to 3 feet long and 2 feet wide. The leaflets are pinnate and support a ranking of 6-14 sub leaflets,1-1/2 inches long, pointed. Margins are entire.

Buds Small and sunken. Born on stout twigs with large leaf scars and vascular bundles.

Bark Smooth and brown on young branches. Older stems are furrowed with a blocky, scaly appearance. It is very distinctive and attractive.

Insects and diseases Little to none noted.

Landscape value Plant more of them. Use them for accent trees in yards and as street trees.

Information sources
Michael Dirr, Manual of Woody Landscape Plants (University of Georgia, 1990)
Michael Kuhns, Trees of Utah and the Intermountain West (Utah State University Press, 1998)