Biology

The coffee plant is native to subtropical Africa and southern Asia. It belongs to a genus of 10 species of flowering plants of the family Rubiaceae. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree that may grow 5 meters (16 ft) tall when unpruned. In Kodagu, the trees are pruned at 4 feet. The primary reason is that it is easier to maintain the plant. The leaves are dark green and glossy, usually 10–15 centimeters (3.9–5.9 in) long and 6.0 centimeters (2.4 in) wide. It produces clusters of fragrant, white flowers that bloom simultaneously. The fruit berry is oval, about 1.5 centimeters (0.6 in) long, and green when immature, but ripens to yellow, then crimson, becoming black on drying. Each berry usually contains two seeds, but from 5 to 10 percent of the berries have only one; these are called peaberries. Berries ripen in seven to nine months.

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