Filed Under Trees

Kentucky Coffeetree

Gymnocladus dioicus

This versatile tree is native to North America. Early pioneers collected its seeds and roasted them as a substitute for coffee, hence the name. Recently, a fruitless variety named 'Espresso’ has been introduced. Native Americans also used the nickel diameter round seeds as game pieces.

Fall colors usually do not impact this tree, but it will sometimes achieve an excellent yellow hue. Its reddish-brown pods hang on throughout the winter. Claims have been made that the seeds in the pods are poisonous. The leaves are bipinnately compound, comprised of 3 to 7 pairs of pinnae (leaflets).


Illustration of Kentucky Coffeetree Source: Creator: Illustration courtesy City of Urbana
Kentucky Coffeetree Creator: Crystal Sheu Date: September 30th, 2015
Tricolor Beech (Fagus stlvatica 'Roseomarginata') Enjoy this Beech on your way to the Serviceberry. Source: September 30th, 2015 Creator: Crystal Sheu


407 W. Delaware | This tree can be found on the west side of yard


Mike Brunk, “Kentucky Coffeetree,” ExploreCU, accessed June 30, 2022,