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Coffea is a genus of flowering plants in the Rubiaceae family. They are shrubs or small trees native to tropical and southern Africa and tropical Asia. Seeds of several species are the source of coffee. Coffee ranks as one of the world’s most valuable and widely traded commodity crops and is an important export product of several countries. The leaves and the outer part of the fruit are also sometimes eaten.[1]

Cultivation and use

There are several species of Coffea that may be grown for the beans. The trees produce red or purple fruits called “cherries” that look like drupes, but are epigynous berries. The cherries contain two seeds, the so-called “coffee beans”, which — despite their name — are not true beans. In about 5-10% of any crop of coffee cherries, there is only a single bean, rather than the two usually found. This is called a peaberry, which is smaller and rounder than a normal coffee bean. It is often removed from the yield and either sold separately (as in New Guinea peaberry), or discarded.

When grown in the tropics, coffee is a vigorous bush or small tree that usually grows to a height of 3–3.5 m (10–12 feet). Most commonly cultivated coffee species grow best at high elevations but are nevertheless intolerant of subfreezing temperatures.[citation needed]

The tree of Coffea arabica will grow fruits after three to five years, and will produce for about 50 to 60 years[citation needed] (although up to 100 years is possible[citation needed]). The white flowers are highly scented. The fruit takes about nine months to ripen.


The caffeine in coffee “beans” is a natural plant defense against herbivory, i.e. a toxic substance that protects the seeds of the plant.

Several insect pests affect coffee production, including the coffee borer beetle (Hypothenemus hampei) and the coffee leafminer (Leucoptera caffeina).

Coffee is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species, including napoleon jacutin (Dalcera abrasa), turnip moth and some members of the genus Endoclita, including E. damor and E. malabaricus.


In 2008 and 2009, researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew named seven species of Coffea from the mountains of northern Madagascar, including C. ambongensis, C. boinensis, C. labatii, C. pterocarpa, C. bissetiae, and C. namorokensis.[2]

In 2008, two new species of coffee plants were discovered in Cameroon: Coffea charrieriana, which is caffeine-free, and Coffea anthonyi.[3] By crossing the new species with other known coffees, two new features might be introduced to cultivated coffee plants: beans without caffeine and self-pollination.


  • Coffea abbayesii J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea affinis De Wild.
  • Coffea alleizettii Dubard
  • Coffea ambanjensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea ambongenis J.-F.Leroy ex A.P.Davis
  • Coffea andrambovatensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea ankaranensis J.-F.Leroy ex A.P.Davis
  • Coffea anthonyi Stoff. & F.Anthony
  • Coffea arabica L.
  • Coffea arenesiana J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea augagneurii Dubard
  • Coffea bakossii Cheek & Bridson
  • Coffea benghalensis B.Heyne ex Schult.
  • Coffea bertrandii A.Chev.
  • Coffea betamponensis Portères & J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea bissetiae A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea boinensis A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea boiviniana A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea bonnieri Dubard
  • Coffea brassii (J.-F.Leroy) A.P.Davis
  • Coffea brevipes Hiern
  • Coffea bridsoniae A.P.Davis & Mvungi
  • Coffea buxifolia A.Chev.
  • Coffea canephora Pierre ex A.Froehner
  • Coffea carrissoi A.Chev.
  • Coffea charrieriana Stoff. & F.Anthony
  • Coffea cochinchinensis Pierre ex Pit.
  • Coffea commersoniana (Baill.) A.Chev.
  • Coffea congensis A.Froehner
  • Coffea costatifructa Bridson
  • Coffea coursiana J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea dactylifera Robbr. & Stoff.
  • Coffea decaryana J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea dubardii Jum.
  • Coffea ebracteolata (Hiern) Brenan
  • Coffea eugenioides S.Moore
  • Coffea fadenii Bridson
  • Coffea farafanganensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea floresiana Boerl.
  • Coffea fotsoana Stoff. & Sonké
  • Coffea fragilis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea fragrans Wall. ex Hook.f.
  • Coffea gallienii Dubard
  • Coffea grevei Drake ex A.Chev.
  • Coffea heimii J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea x heterocalyx Stoff.
  • Coffea homollei J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea horsfieldiana Miq.
  • Coffea humbertii J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea humblotiana Baill.
  • Coffea humilis A.Chev.
  • Coffea jumellei J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea kapakata (A.Chev.) Bridson
  • Coffea kianjavatensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea kihansiensis A.P.Davis & Mvungi
  • Coffea kimbozensis Bridson
  • Coffea kivuensis Lebrun
  • Coffea labatii A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea lancifolia A.Chev.
  • Coffea lebruniana Germ. & Kester
  • Coffea leonimontana Stoff.
  • Coffea leroyi A.P.Davis
  • Coffea liaudii J.-F.Leroy ex A.P.Davis
  • Coffea liberica Hiern
  • Coffea ligustroides S.Moore
  • Coffea littoralis A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea lulandoensis Bridson
  • Coffea mabesae (Elmer) J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea macrocarpa A.Rich.
  • Coffea madurensis Teijsm. & Binn. ex Koord.
  • Coffea magnistipula Stoff. & Robbr.
  • Coffea malabarica (Sivar., Biju & P.Mathew) A.P.Davis
  • Coffea mangoroensis Portères
  • Coffea manombensis A.P.Davis
  • Coffea mapiana Sonké
  • Coffea mauritiana Lam.
  • Coffea mayombensis A.Chev.
  • Coffea mcphersonii A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea melanocarpa Welw. ex Hiern
  • Coffea merguensis Ridl.
  • Coffea millotii J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea minutiflora A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea mogenetii Dubard
  • Coffea mongensis Bridson
  • Coffea montekupensis Stoff.
  • Coffea montis-sacri A.P.Davis
  • Coffea moratii J.-F.Leroy ex A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea mufindiensis Hutch. ex Bridson
  • Coffea myrtifolia (A.Rich. ex DC.) J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea namorokensis A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea neobridsoniae A.P.Davis
  • Coffea neoleroya A.P.Davis
  • Coffea perrieri Drake ex Jum.
  • Coffea pervilleana (Baill.) Drake
  • Coffea pocsii Bridson
  • Coffea pseudozanguebariae Bridson
  • Coffea pterocarpa A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea racemosa Lour.
  • Coffea rakotonasoloi A.P.Davis
  • Coffea ratsimamangae J.-F.Leroy ex A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea resinosa (Hook.f.) Radlk.
  • Coffea rhamnifolia (Chiov.) Bridson
  • Coffea richardii J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea sahafaryensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea sakarahae J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea salvatrix Swynn. & Philipson
  • Coffea sambavensis J.-F.Leroy ex A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea sapinii (De Wild.) A.P.Davis
  • Coffea schliebenii Bridson
  • Coffea semsei (Bridson) A.P.Davis
  • Coffea sessiliflora Bridson
  • Coffea stenophylla G.Don
  • Coffea tetragona Jum. & H.Perrier
  • Coffea togoensis A.Chev.
  • Coffea toshii A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea travancorensis Wight & Arn.
  • Coffea tricalysioides J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea tsirananae J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea vatovavyensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea vavateninensis J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea vianneyi J.-F.Leroy
  • Coffea vohemarensis A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.
  • Coffea wightiana Wall. ex Wight & Arn.
  • Coffea zanguebariae Lour.
Written on June 20th, 2012 , Fruits Tags:

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