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Coffee Taxonomy and Morphology: Parts and Characteristics


This time we will talk about the taxonomy and morphology of coffee. If we talk about plants, it is highly likely that the coffee tree is neither the first nor the second to come to mind. In fact, it may not be among your top 10 options.

However, the coffee plant is one of the most famous and cultivated plants in the world, with a wide variety of characteristics and variations.

Therefore, in this article we will consider in as much detail as possible everything that makes up the coffee plant.

coffee tree or coffee plant

The coffee tree or coffee plant comes from the Rubiaceae family and belongs to the genus Coffea. Rubiaceae can be easily identified, mainly by five distinguishing features:

Leaves grow in pairs

leaves are not divided

Leaf margins are smooth

flowers are hermaphrodite

Each fruit has two seeds.

You may also be interested in knowing all about the origin and history of this famous infusion we know as coffee.




A coffee tree is a small tree or shrub that is evergreen. This means that their leaves remain alive throughout the year, unlike trees whose leaves die in a particular season, for example, in autumn.


The coffee plant can reach ten meters in the wild, but in crops it is kept smaller, usually closer to three meters. This plant blooms only in the third or fourth year.

The fruits of the coffee plant have different capacities according to their types. Arabica fruits are self-pollinating, while Robusta fruits require insect pollination. These are the most prominent types of commercial coffee plants: Arabica and Robusta.

The fruiting of the coffee tree includes 15 weeks of development after the plant flowers. The endosperm, the nutrient source in the fruit, begins to develop after twenty weeks and accumulates solid matter over several months and absorbs the energy produced by photosynthesis.

coffee morphology



Next, we will see in detail each part of the coffee tree or coffee plant.


1. Root


The lower part of the stem of the coffee plant has complex roots several centimeters deep. Among this complex structure is the main root: a longer and thicker root that runs vertically from the tip of the stem to the end of the root.

This root, which acts as a support for other smaller roots, can reach 50 centimeters in plants older than 5 years.



On the other hand, secondary roots or branches are those responsible for absorbing nutrients and water from the soil.


Since we are talking about the morphology and taxonomy of coffee, it is worth noting that only the root can be divided into eleven different parts: Xylem, Phloem, Pericycle, Endodermis, Parenchyma, Epidermis, Protodermis, Meristem, Calyptra.

2. Root


While all plant parts are important to some degree, there is one very important element to all: yes, how did you know? Root .

The stem of the coffee plant serves to support both branches and roots. Like the roots, the stem can be divided into several parts: nodes, branches, terminal bud, auxiliary bud, and internodes.



We can imagine the stem as a tube that carries water and nutrients from the root through the entire plant.


Meanwhile, root nodes have the task of starting the process of growing new branches. During this process, the knots should hold the branch in place and hold it rigid.

On the other hand, terminal bud is, as the name suggests, the bud that marks the end of the stem and the beginning of new growth. The terminal bud is responsible for the development of new branches throughout the life of the plant.

3. Leaves




The leaves of the coffee plant, like its fruits, change color according to the stage they are in. At first they are light green, but later this shade darkens over time.


Strange as it may sound, the leaves of the coffee tree are crucial to its survival. Because it is the leaves that make up the plant and give it its structure.

To know the morphology and taxonomy of coffee as fully as possible, it is important to know the 5 parts that make up the leaf of the coffee plant: limb, central nerve, petiole, stipules, and margin.

1. Terms

They are small green bumps on the head of the leaf. Stipules are those that protect the base of the leaf and in turn indicate where the bud is located.

2. petiole

The petiole is a thin stem that connects the leaves to the branches.

3. Middle nerve



The central nerve is similar to human vessels: it is a structure responsible for transporting nutrients.


4. margin

As you can imagine, the margin is the edge of the page.

5. Purgatory

Leaf blade, everything on the leaf is green. This is the area where photosynthesis takes place. Photosynthesis is the name of the process that converts sunlight into energy.

4. Coffee fruit


The coffee fruit is what remains for us to fully understand the morphology of coffee. For the coffee plant, fruit is its guarantee of survival and reproduction.

Inside these fruits are two seeds combined with parchment: a transparent membrane of natural composition that gives it a sweet taste. Each seed, in turn, has a nucleus, which is the carrier of the embryo and is responsible for the development of the plant.



This fruit has a protective layer called pulp, which is the fleshy part of any fruit. Truck. Its pulp is responsible for protecting the seed from external factors.

On the other hand, the visible part of the seed has what is called the skin or epic. The skin or epic deals with protecting the fruit from bacteria and other biological factors.


Inside the fruit, we can also refer to the thick skin that covers the core. This is the epidermis, which is responsible for protecting the seed of the fruit, for example, from the gastric juices of animals that eat it.

The purpose of this is to preserve the genetics of the plant after the digested seed is expelled from the animal.

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