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Coffee home - From crop to cup - Coffee Plant Botany

Coffee Plant Botany

Coffee Plant Botany
Class of the coffee plant: Dicotyledoneae

Subclass of the coffee plant: Sympetalae or Metachlamydeae

Order of the coffee plant: Rubiales

Family of the coffee plant: Rubiaceae

Genus of the coffee plant: Coffea

Some Species of the coffee plant: Coffea Arabica, Coffea Robusta

The genus, Coffea, which the common coffee tree belongs, contains about 25 species. Coffea Arabica is the largest cultivated coffea but other commercially known are Coffea Liberica, Coffea Stenophylla, Coffea Excelsa, and Coffea Canephora (Robusta). By far, Coffea Arabica and Coffea Robusta are the species of coffee plant most commonly cultivated. The other sspecies of coffee plants are not cultivated commercially. There are indoor coffee plants grown for esthetics because the plant can do well indoors where it is carefully cared for.

The coffee plant originally grew in African tropical forests. Some varieties of coffee plant typically grow over 30 feet.

But, in cultivation, for ease of picking of the coffee berry, the coffee tree is seldom allowed over 15 feet. The Arabica coffee plant is typically smaller than the Robusta coffee plant.

Coffea Robusta is a shrub type plant. The Robusta coffee plant grows similar to a bush, in that it has several trunks. Although, the coffee plant may have one trunk, it tends to have more. Additionally, this characteristic of trunking is different among the various coffee species.

Coffea Arabica is a tree type plant. The Arabica coffee plant drives a straight up trunk with branches paired off outward and lower branches tend to droop downward.

Coffee Leaf Kind: abrupilypinnate. It is a bipolar leaf structure, where two leafs grow from the stem opposite each other. The distance between leaf pairs an the stem is about 1 to 3 inches. The leaf pairs generally are at 90 degree rotation for each pair on the stem. It is an evergreen.


Coffee Leaf Margin: entire - undulate. The edges of the leaf have a ripply look to them. However, younger plants have an even edge look to them. This varies among types.

Coffee Leaf Shape: oblong - ovate. Typically, the plant types are more ovate than oblong. This varies among types.

Coffee Leaf Base: acuminate. This characteristic is fairly common among types.

Coffee Leaf Tip: acuminate. This also is pretty much common among types.

Coffee Leaf Venation: midrib to margin. This varies among types.

Typical coffee leaf lengths: 4 to 6 inches.

Typical coffee leaf widths: 1 to 3 inches.

Coffee leaf color: is a deep green with a waxy surface.

 Front view of a typical coffee leaf.
 Back view of a typical coffee leaf.

The coffee plant flower is white, are produced in dense clusters, and formed in the axils of the leaves. (Where the leaf protrudes from the stem.)

The coffee plant flowers have five-toothed calyx (outer wall of the flower), a tubular five-parted corolla (inner wall of the flower).

Five stamens (pollen bearing organ) and a single bifid style (one piece pointed and divided in two equal parts). The coffee plant's flowers last only a few days. The coffee plant blooms shortly after a rain. The coffee flower has a strong pleasing smell. Also the flower is different for each coffee plant type.

Sexually, the Coffea arabica is autogamous, in that it can pollinate itself, where as the Coffea Robusta can not pollinate itself.

Coffee home - From crop to cup - Coffee Plant Botany

 leaf of coffee
Cup of coffee (bottom)

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