1. Family: Rubiaceae Juss.
    1. Genus: Coffea L.
      1. Coffea pterocarpa A.P.Davis & Rakotonas.

        Coffea pterocarpa was re-discovered on a Kew expedition to Madagascar in 2000. Such expeditions are just one part of Kew’s important coffee research.

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description
    Coffea pterocarpa is a newly identified coffee species with distinctive winged berries.

    Coffea pterocarpa was re-discovered on a Kew expedition to Madagascar in 2000. Such expeditions are just one part of Kew’s important coffee research.

    Coffee farming supports 20 million farming families in 50 countries, but commercial cultivars are already being influenced by climate change and associated issues. Kew is studying the effects of climate change on coffee and undertaking research to support wild coffee conservation.

    Understanding and use of wild species could help commercial production and supply of coffee in the future, particularly in terms of combating pests and diseases and adaptation to environmental change.

    Species Profile

    Geography and distribution

    Restricted to western Madagascar, Mahajanga Province, Soalala District, in the Réserve Naturelle Intégrale Namoroka (RN 8).

    Description

    Coffea pterocarpais one of the most bizarre-looking species of coffee, owing to its yellow-green or yellow, conspicuously winged fruits. It is possible that the wings may make the fruits more visible to animals, such as lemurs and birds, which could act as dispersal agents.

    Another possibility is that the fruits are adapted to water-dispersal, as the fruits float very well, unlike most coffee species, which usually sink when placed in water. As in many areas of western Madagascar, Namoroka receives a large amount of rainfall during the wet season, which produces many ephemeral water courses.

    Overview:  A small, single-stemmed but well-branched tree, about 7 m high. The diameter of the main stem at breast height is 6 to 6.5 cm.

    Leaves:Borne in opposite pairs on the stem. Each leaf pair has a stipule (scale-like appendage) between the petioles (leaf-stalks). The leaf blades are normally oval to egg-shaped in outline, 5.5 to 7 cm long by 1.8 to 3.8 cm wide, with seven to nine pairs of secondary veins. The under-surface of the leaves is slightly hairy on the midrib and veins.

    Flowers:The appearance of the flowers is currently unknown but they are likely to be long-tubular and white.

    Fruits: More or less egg-shaped and 2.6 to 3.6 cm long by 2.2 to 3.8 cm wide. The fruits are distinctly winged, with 16 to 20 wings on each fruit, each wing being 0.9 to 1.2 cm high. The immature fruits are yellow-green, and they are thought to be yellow at maturity. Each fruit contains two seeds (‘coffee beans’).

    Threats and conservation

    Coffea pterocarpais known only from the small protected area of Namoroka, in western Madagascar. During its discovery in 2000 fewer than ten plants were found, and it has only been collected three times. It is possible that it may be found elsewhere in Namoroka, although the total area of the reserve is only 220 square kilometres, with suitable habitat considerably less. Further field studies are required.

    Remarkable new coffee species

    Botanical exploration in Madagascar has unearthed six new species of coffee belonging to the baracoffea alliance, a morphologically unique group of nine species restricted to the seasonally dry forests of western Madagascar.

    The new species are some of the most remarkable in the genus, looking totally different from most coffees. Coffea labatiiand C. pterocarpa are notable for having distinctly winged fruits and C. ambongensis and C. boinensis have the largest seeds of any coffee species, their ‘coffee beans’ being more than twice the size of those of C. arabica.

    Coffea pterocarpa and C. namorokensis were found in 2000, after an expedition to the isolated Namoroka Reserve, although recently an old collection (1952) of C. pterocarpa was discovered in a herbarium in Madagascar.

    Coffea ambongeniswas rediscovered in 1999 after not being seen by scientists since 1852. To our knowledge, none of the new species has been tried as a beverage but as with all other coffee species the fruit contains the characteristic coffee bean. These six new species bring the total number of coffee species to 103.

    Kew plant hunters discover species in Madagascar

    In the wet season of 2000 two botanists from Kew and one counterpart from Antananarivo in Madagascar set out on a bold mission to collect plants from the little-known and poorly collected reserve of Namoroka (Réserve Naturelle Intégrale Namoroka), in a remote part of western Madagascar. This reserve had not been visited for serious botanical collecting since 1952.

    It is possible to reach Namoroka by light aircraft and even by four-wheel drive, but only in the dry season when a visit to this deciduous forest would be of little value to the botanist, with little in flower, fruit, or leaf. Reaching the reserve took three days, two days walking (from sunrise to sunset) and one day in-between, the team sheltering in their tents from a cyclone.

    Fortunately, all equipment and luggage was carried on a zebu cart. On the third day, after the cyclone had passed, the team reached Namoroka, to see giant baobabs in several feet of water amid large vertical and horizontal slabs of limestone, some of which were razor-sharp and very difficult to walk though.

    They could only spend one week at Namoroka, as the food supplies had been damaged by water, as a result of the numerous stream crossings and persistent rain. However, during the short stay they were able to re-collect many rare and interesting plants, and several new species, including a new species of yam ( Dioscorea namorokensis), and the species of coffee Coffea namorokensis (new) and C. pterocarpa(rediscovered).

    Distribution
    Madagascar
    Ecology
    Seasonally dry, mixed deciduous-evergreen forest. On deep karst limestone (known in Madagascar as Tsingy) at 120 - 130 m above sea level.
    Conservation
    Critically Endangered according to IUCN Red List criteria.
    Hazards

    None known.

    Images

    Distribution

    Found In:

    Madagascar

    Common Names

    English
    Madagascan wing-fruited coffee

    Coffea pterocarpa A.P.Davis & Rakotonas. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Identified Reference Herbarium Specimen Type Status
    Jan 1, 2007 Davis, A.P. [2519], Madagascar K000176335
    Davis, A.P. [2538], Madagascar K000176306 holotype

    First published in Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 158: 387 (2008)

    Accepted in:

    • [1] Govaerts, R.H.A. (2011) World checklist of selected plant families published update . Facilitated by the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

    Literature

    • [2] Davis, A.P. & Rakotonasolo, F. (2008). A taxonomic revision of the Baracoffea Alliance: Nine remarkable Coffea species from Western Madagascar. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 158: 355–390.
    • [3] Maurin O, Davis A.P., Chester M., Mvungi E.F., Jaufeerally-Fakim Y., Fay M.F. (2007). Towards a phylogeny for Coffea (Rubiaceae): identifying well-supported lineages based on nuclear and plastid DNA sequences. Annals of Botany 100: 1565–1583.
    • [4] Davis, A.P., Govaerts, R., Bridson, D.M. & Stoffelen, P. (2006). An annotated taxonomic conspectus of the genus Coffea (Rubiaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 152: 465–512.
    • [5] Wilkin, P., Rakotonasolo, F., Schols, P. & Furness, C.A. (2002). A new species of Dioscorea (Dioscoreaceae) from western Madagascar and its pollen morphology. Kew Bulletin 57: 901–909.

    Sources

    International Plant Names Index
    The International Plant Names Index (2016). Published on the Internet http://www.ipni.org
    [A] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    [B] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [C]

    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families(2016). Published on the Internet http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    [D] See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [E] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index and World Checkist of Selected Plant Families. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0