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Kentucky Coffeetree

Common Name: Kentucky Coffeetree

Scientific Name: Gymnocladus dioicus

Family: Fabaceae

Type: Deciduous

Habitat: Woodlands, Slopes, Along Streams and Rivers

Native: Yes

Height: Up to 80 feet

Light: Full sun

Soil: Moist, Well drained

Description: The Kentucky Coffeetree is a native, deciduous tree that belongs to the epithet dioicus, which means that it has separate male and female trees. The Kentucky Coffeetree is named after its seeds, which grow on the female trees and were roasted and used by Native Americans to create a coffee-like beverage. The Kentucky Coffeetree, which can grow up to 80 feet tall, can be found growing naturally in forests and along slopes, streams, or rivers where it prefers to grow in rich, moist soil and full sun. Like all deciduous trees, the Kentucky Coffeetree loses its leaves each fall, but tends to grow its leaves later and lose its leaves earlier than most other deciduous trees. The Kentucky Coffeetree can be identified by its bipinnately compound, ovate leaves, its gray-brown bark, and the purple-brown seed pods which grow on the female trees each fall. These photos of a Kentucky Coffeetree were taken near Mahan Lane at Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve.