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Plant Informational Database

Yerba Mate

Ilex paraguariensis

a.k.a. Paraguay Tea, Jesuit Tea, South American Holly

Widely cultivated South American tree whose leaves are used for tea.

Seed Availability

Seeds are now available at our seed store.


Medium or large sized tree up to 60ft but often remaining much smaller. Naturally occurs in a climate that is hot and wet during summer, cold and dry during winter.


Subtropical, will stand light frosts, probably hardy to 22-25F.

Growing Environment

Seems to grow well in sun and part-shade. Water fairly regularly.


Often by cuttings, but seeds are used as well. Seed viability is short (usually a few weeks to a couple of months) and germination rates are typically low.


Dried leaves are used to make a tea, a historically important drink in Central and South America. Yerba mate contains some caffeine and is often drank as a coffee alternative. Leaves also have numerous medicinal uses. Yerba Mate is the national drink in several Latin American countries and the preparation of the beverage has in some cases, become almost a ceremony.

Native Range

Native to southern South America.

Additional Pictures


Related Species

Ilex paraguariensis
Yerba Mate