Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Coffea arabica

The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney - October 

Common name coffee
Scientific name

Coffea arabica L.

Family  Rubiaceae

Genus: coffea - from the Arabic name for the plants.

Species: arabica - from Arabia

Distribution North East Tropical Africa, Ethiopia, Sudan
Native habitat Tropical highlands
Description Shrub to 7 m tall. Leaves 10 x 8 cm, elliplic to ovate or oblong, narrowly acute at the apex. Often undulate, lustrous and green above paler beneath. Flowers several in axillary clusters, white, fragrant, corolla 5-lobed. Fruit a red berry.
Flowering/fruiting Appearing mid to late spring in Sydney. Fruit ripens to a red berry 6-8 months after flowering.

Location in Garden

First Farm, Bed 84, Bed 20a, bed 65b.
Click here for map of garden beds & grid.


First brought from Rio de Janeiro on the First Fleet in 1788. It has probably been growing on the site since 1788. Numerous attempts were made during the colonial period to establish coffee as a commercial crop, only eventually succeeding after the opening up of northern Queensland for farming in the late 19th century.

A beautiful ornamental plant with lovely deep shiny green leaves. Beautiful white fragrant flowers followed by deep red berries.

Requires a humus rich, free draining moist soil in semi shaded situation. Will not tolerate frost.

Coffee is a mild diuretic and mild laxative. It may improve concentration and reflexes in some people in others there is an increased risk of palpitation of the heart and eventually convulsions.

Coffee is a major world crop.

The plant does have weed potential where the climate is suitably moist.

Currently available from the Growing Friends.