Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kentucky Coffee Tree

Gymnocladus dioica is one of the few trees in Indiana with bipinnately compound or "bipinnate" leaves. Is it the only one? I don't know. Also known as "Coffee Nut," it is uncommon in the northwest third of the state, sometimes being found in the alluvium along streams in woods. It also occurs in more upland mesic forest and even on dry fencerows.
The large bean pods stay attached to the tree through winter and drop in spring. An earlier post resulted in some very interesting thoughts from the inimitable Justin Thomas, legendary Ozark botanist.

6 comments:

Brent C. Kryda said...

This tree is a real celebrity in Ontario, being a "southern" tree that just pokes its way into Canada. It is extremely rare even where it can be found naturally growing along river banks in the extreme southwest of the province, and we love to point out how it has the largest (albeit compound) leaves of any of our trees.

Nick said...

Hard to imagine that big ol' frond starts as a single bud

Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

EMP said...

What about Gleditsia triacanthos? It has some bipinnately compound leaves. Swink lists it as native in southern counties of CW. Is it not considered native in IN?

Scott Namestnik said...

I'd never thought of Gleditsia triacanthos as having bipinnate leaves, but I checked on the ornamental trees in my yard and sure enough, there are some bipinnately compound leaves! Gleditsia triacanthos is considered native in southern and central Indiana, but not in the northwestern/northcentral part of the state, as far as I know.

Keith Board said...

I guess I've never taken a close look at the leaves of Gleditsia triacanthos. I've always thought that all of them were pinnate only.

There is a large, apparently native Honey Locust in Potato Creek State park in bottomland woods, east of the small, yellow concrete bridge in the south-central part of the park, north of the stream. It is a large tree with the trunk densely covered with large, branched, vicious thorns. There is also a Coffee Nut just south of the bridge on the west side of the road, just south of the creek.

Good observations EMP and Scott!