The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

Kentucky Coffee tree in gardens

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The Kentucky Coffee tree is well entitled to a place in every collection. In summer, its charming foliage and agreeable flowers render it a highly beautiful lawn tree; and in winter, it is certainly one of the most novel trees, in appearance, in our whole native sylva. Like the Ailantus, it is entirely destitute of small spray, but it also adds to this the additional singularity of thick, blunt, terminal branches, without any perceptible buds. Altogether it more resembles a dry, dead, and withered combination of sticks, than a living and thrifty tree. Although this would be highly monotonous and displeasing, were it the common appearance of our deciduous trees in winter; yet, as it is not so, but a rare and very unique exception to the usual beautiful diversity of spray and ramification, it is highly interesting to place such a tree as the present in the neighborhood of other full-sprayed species, where the curiosity which it excites will add greatly to its value as an interesting object at that period of the year.* The seeds vegetate freely, and the tree is usually propagated in that manner. It prefers a rich, strong soil, like most trees of the western states. (* There are some very fine specimens upon the lawn at Dr. Hosack's seat, Hyde Park, N. Y., which have fruited for a number of years. See Fig. 38.)