Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Sweet Herb

Image result for stevia
Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

Perhaps you have used a packet or two of a plant product containing Stevia as a sweetener and sugar substitute.

The Wiki entry notes that "the plant Stevia rebaudiana has been used for more than 1500 years by the Guarini peoples of South America, who called it ka'a he'e ('sweet herb'). The leaves have been used traditionally for hundreds of years in both Brazil and Paraguay to sweeten local teas and medicines, and as a 'sweet treat.'"

Stevia rebaudiana was featured as the September 4, 2018 Botany Picture of the Day (BPOD).  The Stevia laden leaves are featured in the photograph--a delicious looking green--but you may want to know what the flowers look like. The author is good enough to include a link to a flower. 
An article from Nutrition Today (2015) by Margaret Ashwell may be found on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information discusses all things stevia: origin, definitions, relative sweetness, production, sustainability, stevia metabolism, stevia safety and its use in management of weight.
Stevia is a member of the Asteraceae family comprised of some 23,600 species. You may learn more about the characteristics and relationships of this diverse family at the Tree of Life Web Project.

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