Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioica)

Kentucky coffeetree photograph; ? MN DNR


Large tree, height 50' to 70', sometimes 100' or more, with a diameter of 24" to 36"; open-grown trunks may be 10' to 12' tall, with three or four heavy ascending branches turning slightly outward to form a high, narrow, and irregularly rounded crown; under forest conditions, trunks may be clear for 70'.


Dark gray or brown, deeply fissured.


Alternate on stem, length 12" to 36", doubly compound with 40 to 60 smooth-margined, abruptly pointed leaflets; bluish green turning yellow in autumn.

Fruit (seed)

Purplish-brown pod, 6" to 10" long; encloses six or more hard, round, flat, dark reddish brown seeds separated by a thick, dark layer of inedible, sticky pulp.


Rare, southeastern Minnesota in Mississippi River Valley to St. Paul and Minnesota River Valley to New Ulm; shade intolerant, moderate growing.