Origin: Santa Catarina, Brazil
The plant can reach forty feet tall. Has gray stems, oval leaves and small green or purplish-red fruit. Erva mate leaves are utilized in cooking. The seedling is very sensitive to the sun, requiring shading until it reaches some maturity. The native plants used to reproduce only by birds of the region who ate the small fruit and defecated its seed already scarified. Nowadays, there are seed-plot producing seedlings of selected varieties, whose planting is done with special techniques in large orchards. In order to make the annual harvest of the branches easier, the tree is severely pruned to keep no more than ten feet tall.
Fill gourd about ⅓ of the way full and shake to the side, place bombilla in gourd. Wet with cold water, then fill with warm to hot water. Let steep a few minutes, then enjoy, refilling with water as liquid is depleted.
Became prohibited in southern of Brazil during the sixteenth century being considered “the devil’s grass” by Jesuit priests of Reduções do Guairá. From the seventeenth century, they began to encourage its use in order to pull people away from alcohol.