Shortleaf Wild Coffee, Beach Botanty


Here is a plant that grows in Matanzas Pass Preserve. The Shortleaf  Wild Coffee, Psychotria tenuifolia, is a woody evergreen that grows to height of 6’ and sometimes even higher. Its stems are pubescent. Leaves are simple and opposite on the stems.  Leaf shape is elliptic to lanceolate 3” to 6” long. Veins are deeply pressed in the upper part of the leaf. Color is a dark bluish green. Underneath is dull. Margins entire.

Flowers are tubular about 2 to 3mm in length. The calyx has 4 to 5 sepals. Corolla 4 to 5 lobes. Colors are greenish white. Tiny flowers grow in clusters in the upper leaf axils. Inflorescence is axillary. Fruit is a reddish berry.

Distribution of tenuifolia is in the coastal and rockland hammocks in the Southern and Central Counties. Rubiaceae (Madder) is the family. There are four species in the genus Psychotria, all native to Florida. For a long time the species name was sulzneri. The name was recently changed to tenuifolia. The specimen in the picture can be found in an Oak Hammock in Matanzas Pass Preserve.