Family:
Fabaceae
Toxins:
quinolizidine alkaloids saponins
Flower Color:
  • flower color
  • flower color
  • flower color
Found:
ornamental, gardens, roadsides

Time of Greatest Risk

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Geographical Distribution

Kentucky coffee tree distribution - United States

Related Species

Kentucky Coffee Tree

Gymnocladus dioicus

American Coffee Berry, Coffeetree, Chicot, Chiot Tree, Nicker Tree, Stump Tree, Kentucky Mahogany
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Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioicus) is a short-trunked, medium-sized, deciduous tree with a narrow, open crown of coarse branches and very large, twice-compounded leaves. Kentucky coffee tree attributes:
  • Height: The tree grows between 75 to 100 feet in height.
  • Bark: The bark of the tree is dark brown with roughened, scale-like ridges that present in distinct patterns.
  • Leaves: The leaves of the kentucky coffee tree are one of the last to develop in the spring, and will be one of the first to fall during the autumn months. When leaves first emerge, they are often tinged pink. As the season progresses into the summer months, the leaves change into a dark green to blue-green color. In the fall, the leaves turn yellow to brown, prior to falling off the tree.
  • Flowers: Kentucky coffee tree produces greenish-white colored flowers held in terminal clusters.
  • Fruits: The fruit produced by the tree are flattened reddish-brown pods which ripen in October, often persisting on into the winter.
Kentucky coffee tree


Toxic components
All parts of the tree can accumulate high levels of saponins, quinolizidine alkaloids (cytisine), and hydrocyanic acid.