People hang out in the park

Parks & Recreation

Kentucky Coffeetree

Common Name: Kentucky Coffeetree

Scientific Name:  Gymnocladus dioicus

Location: Spalding Circle

Size: 3 inches diameter at breast height

Kentucky Coffeetree, Gymnocladus dioicus location on map

Native to:  Ohio and Mississippi River Valley regions

This tree typically grows to: 60 to 80 feet tall and 40 to 55 feet wide

This tree prefers these conditions:  Full sun, medium moisture

Special about this tree:  

  • Huge pinnately double-compound leaves can total 30 inches. Each might hold five to nine pairs of leaflets that in turn hold six to 14 oval sub-leaflets.
  • Greenish white flowers on tips of stems emerge in April-June.
  • Flowers mature to broad five-inch seedpods.
  • Native Americans and early settlers roasted and ground “coffee-nuts” seeds to make a hot beverage, though seeds are toxic when raw.
  • Course branching of mature tree creates ominous silhouette in winter.
  • Tolerates fast-draining conditions (such as rain gardens), and air pollution.