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> > Trees of Winona State University > Kentucky Coffeetree

2. Kentucky Coffeetree

(Gymnocladus dioicus)

Winona State University's first Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnacladus dioicus) was planted on campus in the early 1990s.  It was funded by contributions of Winona State University employees to the WSU Foundation and was one of the first trees planted in Winona State University's tree diversification program.

This tree received its common name because pioneers roasted and ground its seeds as a substitute for coffee.  An interesting feature of the Kentucky Coffeetree is its large, hard seeds, which were used in a type of dice game played by Native American Indians.

The bark is deeply furrowed gray to dark brown and the leaves have large, bipinnately compound blue-green leaves.  Fall color can be yellow but is usually insignificant.  Female trees produce brown seedpods up to eight inches long in October, which remain on the tree until spring.

The tree's scientific name "Gymnocladus" means "naked twig, or branch" since the branches are bare throughout the winter. 

The cultivar planted on the WSU campus is called "Expresso" and is a native tree to the area.  A mature Kentucky Coffeetree grows to the northwest of Minné Hall and two younger trees of this species are planted along Mark Street near the northeast corner of the Mark and Johnson Street intersection.

(see #14 on the maps)



 Kentucky Coffeetree

Last Modified: Monday, July 27, 2009 9:36 by Shraddha Bista

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