Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioica)

Kentucky coffeetree photograph; ? MN DNR

Form

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'.

Bark

Dark gray or brown, deeply fissured.

Leaf

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.

Range

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