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Photo: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey
BSc.(Zool) Biologist Guide
The Coffee Family: Family Rubiaceeae
This is one of the largest of all flowering plant families, with over 6000 species, found mostly in the tropics of the world (Perry 1977).
With so many species, variability in features should be expected.
However, the leaves are usually either opposite to the stem, or arranged in whorls (Jackes 1997).
Many specimens will have a scar on the stem, which appears as a line between the two opposite leaves where there was previously a stipule.
The flowers in this family vary from the pretty white twisted petals of Gardenias to the Ixora that have their tiny bright red flowers grouped in a head.
The following fruits are often small round red berries, often larger compound fruits. As the ovary is inferior, that is, it is located below the petals and sepals, the fruits often develop with the presence of a calyx ring.
This is an economically important family as it contains the much loved Coffee plants, and the early treatment and prevention against malaria, the quinine plant.
There are also many ornamentals from this family, such as the Gardenias, with their pretty and fragrant flowers.
Script: Courtesy of Damon Ramsey BSc.(Zool) Biologist Guide