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Stevia : the Plant
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Origin and Botanics

Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is a plant originating in the valley of the Rio Monday in the highlands of Paraguay, close to the Iguazu Falls in the border region between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.

Also known as sweet grass or Ka'a-He'e it is a medicinal plant known by the Guarani Indians long before the colonization of the Americas, they use it to sweeten foods and in particular mate.

Stevia is part of the family Asteraceae (Compositae), broadleaf herbaceous plants, it grows naturally in the grasslands of uplands in a semi arid climate.



Stevia can reach 40 to 60cms in height and even sometimes up to 80 cms to 1 meter. It flowers in August-September, and small white flowers appear. The small seeds are dispersed by the wind through their fluffy pappe.


The germination of seeds is very low and it is preferable to multiply the multiply the plant by cuttings.

Stevia grows in both land and pot, it is sensitive to temperatures below 10 ° C

Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is today grown on almost every continent: South America (Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil ...), Asia (China, Japan, Malaysia ...), Oceania (Australia, New Zealand ...) , Middle East (Israel), Europe (Spain, Great Britain ...), North America (USA, Canada).

Leaves are harvested and then dried in the sun, they will be used in the manufacture of steviol glycosides.

In optimum conditions the yield of crops is between 2 and 4 tons of dried leaves per hectare.

Stevia and steviol glycosides are used as  sweetener in more than fifteen countries where they are allowed as food additive. The market and plant cultivation spread slowly.