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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - December 22, 2006

From: New Melle, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Care and propagation of Kentucky Coffeetree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I found a tree on our property in Missouri, after some reserch I found that it is a Kentucky Coffee tree. I collected several of the pods and would like to know how I can plant them to grow. Thanks.

ANSWER:

The Kentucky Coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus), a member of the Family Fabaceae (Pea Family), can be found over most of the eastern United States and Canada. It gets its common name from the fact that its seeds were roasted and used as a coffee substitute. Native Americans also had many medicinal uses for the plant. Please be aware that unroasted seeds and other parts of the plant are considered to have low toxicity.

Floridata (as well as the information on our Native Plants Database) offers information on propagation and care of the plant. You can read specific recommendations on seed scarification and stratification for breaking seed dormancy of the Kentucky Coffeetree.

 

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