The Coffee Family

The Coffee Family


After I completed the Citrus Family, I knew that the following year when I returned to NTBG, my next venture had to be the Coffee Family. The Botanical Garden is right next door to the largest coffee growers in the US! Not a day goes by that I don’t start with my morning coffee. The flowers appear to be snow falling on top of the coffee plants, and the smell is intoxicating.



The family is quite large and varied, and I am fortunate to collaborate with the National Tropical Botanical Garden foremost botanist (Dr. David Lorence) on the Rubiaceae (Coffee) Family. NTBG has a large collection of these plants so there were so many fascinating flora to choose from!

“This elegant botanical art work by Wendy Hollender illustrating members of the Coffee Family (Rubiaceae) shows the importance of living collections at botanical gardens. All the plants on this print are growing in the living collections of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and highlight the extent to which this plant family is both diverse and economically important. Rubiaceae are the world’s fourth largest flowering plant family, with some 600 genera and 13,500 species and include coffee, quinine, gardenias, as well as many tropical and subtropical trees, shrubs, and herbs.” – David H. Lorence, Senior Research Botanist at the National Tropical Botanical Garden



Plants in the Coffee Family share these traits:

     Elliptical and waxy
     Oppositely arranged along the stem
     Often feature prominent venation
Fruit (known as “coffee cherry”)
     1 or 2 seeded drupe

Learn more about the Coffee Family


Coffee Plant Family Portrait by Wendy Hollender (Buy it here)


Plants depicted in this Plant Family Portrait:

Catunaregam Spinosa (Mountain Pomegranate)
Coffea Arabica (Arabic Coffee)
Gardenia Cornuta (Horned Gardenia)
Gardenia Latifolia (Indian Boxwood)
Gardenia Taitensis (Tahitian Gardenia)
Morinda Citrifolia (Noni)
Morinda Latibractea
Mussaenda Raiateensis (Pacific Mussaenda)
Rosenbergiodendron Formosum (Blackberry Jam Fruit)
Portlandia Grandiflora (Bell Flower)
Pseudomussaenda Flava (Dwarf Mussaenda)


My goal with this series of Plant Family Portraits is to deepen people’s awareness of plants and gain an understanding of plant details to help combat “Plant Blindness.” An appreciation for biodiversity is an important part of our wellbeing. May we all delight in nature’s fascinating architecture and colors, appreciate our environment, and how precious it is to protect.

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