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Psychotria nervosa (Seminole balsamo)
Cressler, Alan

Psychotria nervosa

Psychotria nervosa Sw.

Seminole Balsamo, Wild Coffee

Rubiaceae (Madder Family)

Synonym(s): Psychotria lanceolata, Psychotria nervosa var. lanceolata, Psychotria portoricensis, Psychotria undata


USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (N), VI (N)

Bright red berrylike fruit contrast well with the dark green leaves of this evergreen shrub. Seminole Balsamo or Wild Coffee usually grows to 15 ft. and generally has an attractive shape. Leaves are showy because of the wavy, textured look created by conspicuous veins. Inconspicuous flowers and the berries occur in upper leaf axils.

Wild Coffee is a member of the madder family (family Rubiaceae) which includes herbs, shrubs, or trees, with flowers borne in a branched cluster. There are about 500 genera and 6,000 species that occur primarily in tropical regions, where woody representatives are most frequent. Madder (a dye), coffee, and quinine are obtained from the family. Gardenias are popular ornamentals in mild climates.


From the Image Gallery

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Drupe
Size Notes: Up to about 15 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec


Native Distribution: S. FL
Native Habitat: Shell ridge hammocks

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Description: Well-drained soil.
Conditions Comments: This versatile plant will grow in full sun but the plant will be more compact and leaves will show yellowing.

National Wetland Indicator Status

Status: FAC FAC
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Psychotria nervosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Psychotria nervosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Psychotria nervosa


Record Modified: 2023-05-15
Research By: TWC Staff

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