Many people usually don’t have a clue when it comes to spotting the differences between a tree and a plant. Come to think of it, it almost sounds like the same thing. In fact, most people use the term plant to refer to a tree, and vice versa.
Typically, plants are short and closer to the ground, while trees are way taller. There have been numerous debates as to whether coffee plantations are filled with trees or plants. Learn everything about Ethiopian coffee here.
Different people have different views on this. To get a clear insight, it is important to, first of all, understand what a coffee tree looks like.
What Does A Coffee Plant Or Tree Look Like?
Coffee is indigenous to the southern part of Africa and tropical Asia. However, it is now cultivated in close to 70 countries all over the world.
There are many species, with all of them possessing a woody, evergreen characteristic. They, however, vary in leaf size and shape. Most of them are oval or eliptical.
They also range in size from small shrubs to tall ones, up to about 30 feet. They produce beautiful white flowers, and red berries that contain coffee seeds.
Are They Plants Or Trees?
This question has no direct answer to it. There are two determining factors as to whether to classify coffee as a tree or a plant. The most important of them is height.
In order to qualify as a tree, a plant should grow more than 20 feet tall. Most wild coffee plants usually grow to this height. Others could grow even taller.
The second determining factor is the size of their trunks. Plants can only qualify as trees if they have a trunk more than 3 inches wide. Wild coffee plants usually have trunks with a diameter close to that. For this reason, they pass as trees.
On the contrary, domestic coffee plants usually don’t grow to 20 feet in height. They are noticeably shorter than the wild coffee trees. They grow to a height of less than 20 feet, but not below 6 feet.
This is because they are usually pruned to facilitate easier harvesting. These do not qualify as trees. For the most part, domestic coffee plants qualify as plants, or shrubs to be specific. This is backed up by the fact that they usually grow as multi-stem plants.
What Are They Considered Around The World?
Different people have different views about coffee plants. Their views typically depend on the size of the coffee plants in their country. Most people or countries consider them as shrubs, more than trees.
To classify coffee as a plant or tree, we majorly look at their height and trunk diameter, as well as the number of stems. Those that grow to a height of over 20 feet are classified as trees.
The majority of trees are wild coffee that grows in the forest. They also have trunks with a diameter of more than 3 inches wide.
Coffee plants, or shrubs usually have a height of more than 6 feet, but less than 20 feet. They also have multiple tiny stems. Most grown coffee usually qualifies as a shrub.