Gymnocladus dioica

Gymnocladus dioica
Gymnocladus dioica 
Kentucky coffee tree
SIZE/TYPE medium-sized tree
USUAL HEIGHT 8-15m
USUAL WIDTH 4-6m
LEAVES deciduous broadleaf
COLOUR OF LEAVES green
FLOWERS less showy but noticeable
COLOUR OF FLOWERS white
BLOOMING TIME July - July
LOCATION full sun
USDA zone (lowest) 4   (down to -34°C)
WINTER PROTECTION  
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Deciduous broadleaf
Rarities
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Kentucky coffee tree is a gorgeous tree from North America that is no doubt rare in Europe. The key feature are its large, bi-pinnate leaves that can grow anything from 40 cm up to 1m long. They are composed of rich forest green, narrowly ovate to elliptic, 3-5 cm long, sharply pointed leaflets, turning cheerful yellow in autumn whilst keeping the stalks rich purple red.

In early summer, white, small, star-shaped flowers are formed in racemes that are about 10 cm long on male, and up to 30 cm long on female plants which then produce bean-like seedpods with seeds that used to be consumed as coffee substitute hence its name. Still, some sources believe that the seeds are toxic. Flowering is limited to regions with hot and long summers.

Kentucky coffee tree grows slowly, and is rather spreading. Only mature plants form a more upright, somewhat oval-shaped crown. Thanks to its exotic, very large leaves it is commonly used in jungle and exotic-style landscapes where they perfectly imitate rainforest flora.

Its former name gymnocladus canadensis respected its place of origin, however, nowadays the commonly preferred name is gymnocladus dioica (female). It is believed that dioica refers to the fact that the plant has male and female reproductive organs on separate trees = being dioecious. Yet, the exact translation of its Latin name means dio = two and ica = hit/struck which would refer to its bi-pinnate = twice compound leaves.

Kentucky coffee tree grows best in deep, fertile, evenly moist but well-drained soil of any pH, preferably in full sun. It emerges later than most other deciduous trees and can be pruned in early spring. Hard pruning will encourage new growths of larger leaves but will prolong waiting for a tall tree. Pest and disease resistant, hardy to min. -34°C (USDA zone 4).

Last update 10-01-2013
SIZES and PRICES
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Gymnocladus dioica height 125-150 cm, height of stem 90 cm
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GLOSSARY
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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