Gymnocladus dioicus – Kentucky Coffee Tree (central North America)
Habit: Medium-size to large tree, 15-20 m tall, up to 30 m at optimal sites; 8-10 m, sometimes 15-22 m wide; crown domed to ovoid, few branches, picturesquely asymmetrical when old, 25-35 cm a year, slow-growing.
Flowers: Monoecious or dioecious, greenish white, some 10 cm long panicles in June; pistillate flowers with sweetish scent.
Fruits: Reddish brown, some 10 cm long husks with hard seeds, unpalatable.
Leaves: Doubly pinnate, 50-80 cm, up to 150 cm long on young sprouts, extremely late shoots, end of May to beginning of June, pale green on top, bluish underneath, light yellow in autumn, falling early in September, but red rachis very persistent.
Stem: Twisted with conspicuously rough bark like shingles, wood is very hard but not elastic.
Roots: Cordate to deep, tending to form runners when root system is damaged.
Demands: Low humidity, good for urban and industrial areas, need wind protection.
Soil: Moderately dry to damp, neutral to very alkaline, sandy loam or clay, tolerant salt.
Our tip: Ideal for patios as it only blocks the summer sun and does not cast a shadow in spring or autumn.
Hardiness: Zone 6a