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This large, suckering tree produces fragrant showy flowers, followed by a bean-like seedpod and was used in times of scarcity to make a coffee-like beverage. The seeds are very toxic before roasting and should never be eaten raw.

Latin Name

Gymnocladus dioicus



Type of Plant

Trees Trees

Bloom Season

May - June


Spring Spring


Max height Max Height: 80'
Max spread Max Spread: 55'


  • Shade Tree
  • Rain Garden

  • Sunlight Exposure

    Full Sun Full Sun


  • Air Pollution
  • Drought

  • Toxicity

    Do not ingest Do not ingest


    Native Range

    Eastern and Central North America


    Washington records in his diary on April 13, 1785 that he "Planted & Sowed in boxes placed in front of the Green House" "...Eight Nuts from a tree called the Kentucke Coffee tree; these had been steeped 48 hours."

    Other Details

    Grown by Washington Grown by Washington

    Planted at Mount Vernon

    Planted at Mount Vernon Fruit Garden & Nursery Bowling Green

  • Fruit Garden & Nursery
  • Bowling Green

  • Hardiness Zones

    3a 3b 4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8a 8b USDA basemap

    Average annual extreme minimum temperature 1976-2005

    map legend 3a 3b 4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8a 8b

    Bartlett Tree Expert Company has been working with Mount Vernon Estate since 2011 providing expert arboricultural care and GPS mapping for the estate’s historic trees, as well as support from their research facility.   Mount Vernon is proud to partner with Bartlett Tree Experts and appreciates their sponsorship of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Plant Finder App.

    Bring Washington's Garden Home

    Purchase our historic seeds, collected from plants grown at Mount Vernon and plant them in your own garden.

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