Country of Origin: valley of Rio Monday in northeastern Paraguay
Habitat: edges of marshland on acid infertile sand or muck soils
Description: Stevia has an alternate leaf arrangement and herbaceous to semi-woody growth habit with flowers arranged in indeterminate heads. The flowers are small and white with a pale purple throat. The pollen can be highly allergenic. Stevia is self-incompatible and probably insect pollinated, the seeds are small, have very little endosperm and are dispersed in the wind via a hairy pappus.
Uses: This tropical herb was discovered in Paraguay where it has been used for centuries as a natural sweetener for yerba mate tea. Stevia is a healthy alternative to sugar or artificial sugar substitutes. This all-natural sweetener has zero calories, zero carbohydrates and a zero glycemic index. 5