Description: A relative of the gardenia and Ixora, it is an attractive shrub with glossy evergreen leaves. It prefers light shade, is hardy to 28°F and can be used as a potted specimen, though some varieties grow into large trees. The flowers are white, star-like, fragrant, in axillary clusters which appear in the spring. The fruit are red when ripe, in the fall, with a sweet pulp surrounding the bean.
Uses: The cherries of this plant contain seeds commonly known as coffee beans that are used to make the hot beverage coffee. Coffee contains the chemical caffeine which is used to alleviate fatigue. It also increases the pain relieving effects of aspirin and acetaminophen by constricting the blood vessels that when dilated cause headaches. However, caffeine is very addictive.
USDA Zone: 10a-11
Accession # 198500493
Voucher 129182 at George Safford Torrey Herbarium (CONN). Specimen collected 10 February 2005. Herbarium Image