Common Name: Kentucky coffeetree, coffeetree
Hardiness Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 60 to 80 ft
Width: 40 to 55 ft
Description: Kentucky coffeetree is an excellent city tree. It is tolerant of most Minnesota urban conditions and does not have disease or insect problems. It has beautiful form when mature, especially if grown in open spaces. The peculiar, "stump-like" twigs are a noticeable feature. The female Kentucky coffeetree produces large seed pods that can be a nuisance. This is why male coffeetrees are preferred for urban areas.
Seeds should never be eaten straight from the tree. Seeds, leaves, and young shoots that are surrounded by the gelatinous matter contain a toxin that is harmful to humans, pets, and livestock. The name "coffeetree" comes from settlers using the seeds for a coffee substitute. Native Americans also used the roasted seeds for beverage and food. It is native to parts of Minnesota, though it fairly uncommon in the wild.