Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Coffea arabica L.

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)
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Flowers. © CSIRO
Leaves and fruit. © CSIRO
Scale bar 10mm. © CSIRO
10th leaf stage. © CSIRO
Cotyledon stage, epigeal germination. © CSIRO

Linnaeus, C. von (1753) Species Plantarum 2: 172. Type: Habitat in Arabia felici.

Common name

Arabica Coffee; Coffee, Arabica; Coffee; Arabian Coffee; Coffee, Arabian


A small tree not exceeding 20 cm dbh.


Stipules broad at the base but abruptly narrowed into a point at the apex. Leaf blades about 7-20 x 3-9 cm. Domatia are foveoles with a comparatively small elongated orifice. Midrib raised on the upper surface.


Calyx lobes small and inconspicuous. Bracteoles on the pedicels fused to form an epicalyx. Corolla glabrous throughout. Corolla tube 8-10 mm long, lobes about 8-11 mm long. One ovule in each ovary locule.


Fruit ellipsoid or cylindrical, about 12-16 mm long. Each fruit contains one or two pyrenes rounded on one side and flat on the other.


Cotyledons +/- orbicular or transversely elliptic, about 20-30 x 35-40 mm. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade elliptic, apex acuminate, base cuneate; stipules broad at the base but abruptly narrowed into a point at the apex. Seed germination time 47 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from East Africa, widely cultivated in Australia and now naturalised in places in NEQ, particularly on the Atherton Tableland. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 750 m. Grows in rain forest regrowth and disturbed rain forest.

Natural History & Notes

Cultivated widely through out the world for it mass flowering and red fruits. Numerous strains and variety are grown for commercial coffee production.

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