Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants - Online edition

Coffea liberica W.Bull ex Hiern

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

Hiern, W.P. (1876) Transactions Linnean Society 2 i: 171. Type: Sierra Leone, cultivated on Mr Effenhausens farm, Daniell s.n. Lectotype: BM, fide Bridson (1985).

Common name

Liberian Coffee; Coffee, Liberian


Attains the dimensions of a tree but also flowers and fruits as a shrub.


Leaf blades about 14-25 x 5-9 cm, petioles about 1-2.5 cm long. Domatia are foveoles with backward pointing orifices partly obstructed with hairs. Foveoles also visible as humps on the upper surface of the leaf blade. Stipules triangular, about 3-4 mm long.


Flowers borne in almost sessile clusters in the leaf axils. Flowers about 30-40 mm diam. Calyx lobes small and inconspicuous. Corolla tube about 10-12 mm long, lobes 7-8, about 6 mm long, glabrous. Stamens about 7-8. Ovules 1 per locule.


Fruits subglobose, about 18-30 mm long. Seeds two or three per fruit, each seed enclosed in a hard endocarp about 13-15 x 4-8 mm. Testa thin and papery. Endosperm with a longitudinal fold. Radicle not as wide as but much longer than the cotyledons.


Cotyledons orbicular to +/- reniform, about 30-50 mm diam., stipules present. First pair of leaves obovate to oblanceolate, midrib raised on the upper surface. At the tenth leaf stage: leaf blade narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, apex acute, base attenuate. Stipules broadly triangular, about 3 mm long. Foveoles usually visible, the orifice quite small. Terminal bud somewhat resinous. Seed germination time 85 to 87 days.

Distribution and Ecology

An introduced species originally from west Africa, now naturalised in NEQ. Altitudinal range not known but collected near sea level. Grows in disturbed areas and roadsides of lowland rain forest in the Daintree-Cape Tribulation area.

Natural History & Notes

This species can develop into a sizeable tree and is used for the production of commercial coffee.

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