Kentucky Coffee Tree and Rain / Ashbridge’s Bay: January 23, 2019

Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)

Kentucky Coffee Tree is one of the most interesting trees in North America and there is a little grove of them at Ashbridge’s Bay.

Here are some facts: 1. Long ago, land developers advertised Kentucky as a place where a tree grew with beans that could be roasted and brewed to make a fine coffee substitute. Although drinkable, settlers quickly switched to real coffee when it became available.

Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)

2. The seeds can be dangerous if consumed and must be roasted at 150 degrees F for at least 3 hours to be safe for human consumption.

3. The leaf of Kentucky Coffee Tree is doubly compound and by far the largest of any native tree.

Kentucky Coffee Tree (Gymnocladus dioicus)

4. These days, they are frequently planted as a landscape tree due to their tolerance of urban conditions.

This morning’s walk was done in steady rain and 2 degree temperature.

As usual in this location, chickadees sought us out as they know that I carry seed.

Black-capped Chickadee

Some ducks on the ice:


Species list: mallard, gadwall, bufflehead, long-tailed duck, common goldeneye, common merganser, ring-billed gull, hairy woodpecker, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, northern cardinal.  (11 species)

Other sights:

undulating ice on the lake
Dog track
Larch cones (Larix)
Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)
Cottonwood (Populus deltoides)
Manitoba Maple (Acer negundo)
Water on Red-osier (Cornus sericea)
Great Burdock (Arctium lappa)
Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum)


In drear nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne’er remember
Their green felicity—
The north cannot undo them
With a sleety whistle through them
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.  

– John Keats (1795–1821)

Miles Hearn

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