At Native Forest Nursery we grow bare root seedlings and #3 container trees. Our container trees are grown in a #3 air pruned pot. This root making container eliminates nearly all potential for root wrapping. This allows for an excellent root structure and delivers an extremely healthy tree. The bare root seedlings at our nursery are grown in a sandy loam soil with high organic matter content, which provides an extremely healthy environment for our seedlings. Our bare root liners and seedlings are hand lifted, packaged, and kept in cold storage until you are ready to plant. Conservation uses for our products include reclamation, mitigation, reforestation, restoration, wildlife habitat improvement and wetland uses. Horticultural uses for our products include field liners, container liners, landscape plantings, budding stock, grafting stock and ornamental uses.

Family: Fabaceae
Latin Name: Gymnocladus dioica
Foliage: Blue-green
Fall Foliage: Insignificant yellow
Bloom: Greenish-white
Bloom Time: May to June
Shape: Irregular oval
Bark: Scaly gray-brown
Sun: Full sun
Zone: Zone 3 to Zone 8
Size: 60 to 80 feet
Spread: 40 to 55 feet
Care: Medium, well drained soil

Belonging to the botanical pea family Fabaceae, the deciduous, tall-standing Gymnocladus Dioica is native to the Midwest. Looming up to 60-80 ft. with a generous 40-55 ft. spread, the Kentucky Coffeetree’s irregularly oval canopy flourishes given direct full sunlight. With a 3-8 hardiness zone rating, this specimen prefers medium, well-drained soils. It is moderately fast-growing and long-lived, typically surviving between 100-150 years. Often grown along city streets and urban parks, the Kentucky Coffeetree is characterized with a raw beauty despite standing leafless for as much as half of the year. The first word of its binomial name literally translates to “naked branch” in Greek. Due to the Kentucky Coffeetree’s appearance, the Canadian French also have nicknamed it “Chicot” (“the dead tree”), a name that is further fortified by the tree’s encrusted gray-brown bark.

Adaptable to a wide range of environments, the Kentucky Coffeetree is as unconventionally handsome as it is resilient. Despite its at times eerie appearance, it is distinguished as a picturesque tree and can be found adorning many parks, golf courses, and city streets across the nation. Its leaves are very large and airy, composed of smaller leaflets, and spectacularly colored. They emerge in late spring with stunning rose-bronze pigments, later shifting to take on a dark bluish-green tinge. By autumn, the foliage has lightened to become a beautiful gold canvas.

The Kentucky Coffeetree’s jade-yellow panicles bloom in May and June, later replaced by autumnal reddish-brown pods. Heavy and large, these pods droop from the branches and cheerfully clatter against each other in the wind. These seeds were commonly roasted and eaten by Native Americans and early American settlers, especially within and around the region of present-day Kentucky. Sometimes these roasted seeds were grounded and brewed to create a coffee-like beverage, from which this tree’s name is derived. These seeds must never be eaten raw from the tree, however, since they contain a toxic alkaloid called cytisine (which is neutralized in the roasting process).