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COFFEA liberica

Image of Coffea liberica

Family

Rubiaceae

Botanical Name

COFFEA liberica

Plant Common Name

Liberian Coffee

General Description

Accounting for only one percent of the world's commercial coffee bean production, Liberian coffee plants hail from western sub-Saharan Africa. The red fruits (drupes) bear a tough skin, making it difficult to obtain the inner beans for brewing. Liberian beans have a harsher, less flavorful taste than those of close relatives, Arabica and Robusta coffee.

The large, wide, oval, dark green leaves of Liberian coffee plants are arguably the most ornamental of all Coffea species. And there is more caffeine in the leaves than beans. Becoming an upright shrub to small tree, this coffee blooms sporadically year round when weather is favorable. The large, white, bee-pollinated flowers occur near the leaf bases on branches and are followed by rather large green fruits which mature to red.

In general, coffee grows best in moderate locations with moist, fertile, well-drained soil and partial sun, but this species will tolerate full sun, higher heat, humidity and even nutritionally poor soils. Plant it as an accent shrub or a large houseplant for a warm, bright room.

Liberian coffee beans are ground and typically mixed as filler with Arabica or Robusta beans. Of the three coffee species planted commercially for drinking, Liberian has the most bitter flavor.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Broadleaf Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    10'-20' / 3.0m - 6.1m

  • Width

    8'-16' / 2.4m - 4.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    Western Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Edible, Feature Plant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No