Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) – Grow Your Own!
The popular South American beverage Mate is made from the leaves of the Yerba mate plant. Rich in antitoxins and caffeine this beverage is popular as an alternative to coffee. Yerba mate comes from the holly family and is a beautiful evergreen tree that is rarely bothered by pest and disease. Lovers of heat and humidity, Yerba mate grows well outdoors, in the southeastern Zone 9-10. Elsewhere it’s best to grow in containers. The leaves are easy to process. Just pick the leaves and air dry in an oven at low heat or in a dehydrator. Leaves are said to mellow and develop unique flavors when stored in cedar wood boxes. Zone 9-10 outside or in containers.