General Appearance of Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate LeavesThe Yerba Mate tree, from the Aquifoliacae family, is a widely cultivated medium sized evergreen tree that can grow to 20 metres high in the wild. Commonly when cultivated, it is pruned into a shrubby 4 - 8 metre tall tree. There are many different species in the family, the Ilex gender having more than 550, the Holly plant included, 280 species found in South America, 60 of which occur in southern Brazil. Only 3 species though are used in the maté industry (I. paraguariensis, I. angustifolia, I. amara), Ilex Paraguariensis being the most important. The Yerba Mate plant, due to the widespread genetic variety of the Ilex family, may have white or light purple stems, and thick waxy leaves that may present dented or smooth edges. It has graceful, full leafed branches, and white flowers that produce small red, black, or yellow berries. It is the tough leathery leaves that are used medicinally and as a natural, refreshing tea beverage throughout South America and the world.

 
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