Fabaceae (pea family) Gymnocladus

Gymnocladus dioicus Kentucky coffee tree

Cental and Eastern US
Kentucky coffee tree, Mayfield Avenue park. Sairus Patel, 11 May 2023

A deciduous tree with graceful compound leaves 3 feet long delicately twice-divided; leaflets are 1 to 3 inches long. See a sizable specimen at the edge of the Mayfield Avenue park behind 690 Coronado Avenue. Two younger ones are resprouting at the other end of the park. A single specimen, about 50 feet tall but leaning dramatically, was in the greenbelt between San Francisquito Creek and Sand Hill Road, about 100 yards toward El Camino Real from London Plane Way and 25 yards in from the bike path (map pin). It collapsed around 2008; clusters of shoots are sprouting vigorously from the roots (about 20 feet tall in 2018) and from a section of the fallen trunk (about 12 feet tall).

Name derivation: Gymnocladus – Greek gymnos (naked) and klados (branch), the branches are stout, without any small twigs; dioicus – dioecious (male and female flowers on separate plants).

About this Entry: The main text of this entry is from the book Trees of Stanford and Environs, by Ronald Bracewell, published 2005. Greenbelt tree’s collapse and resprouting noted (Jul 2018, SP). Mayfield Avenue park locations added; edits; spelling of species name corrected (Sep 2023, SP).