Genus of the Week
(seems more like Genus of the Month lately!)
Week of December 20-26
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the
context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of
all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you might also want to visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes
, a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family. Also, you can see my contribution to the
Conservation New England web site, entitled
"The Introduction of Non-Native Plants into Massachusetts".
This week's genus:
Number of Species: at least 80
Root: This genus was named for P. J. Esteve, a Spanish botanist in the 16th century.
Once classified into the genus Eupatorium, Stevia is probably best known for
S. rebaudiana, from which a powerful non-caloric sweetener is derived. Although internet
information is highly focused on this species, there are many others that can found growing
throughout North and South America.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Stevia species:
- Visit HealthWorld Online to find out more about the
history of Stevia and its use as a
- The history of the use of S. rebaudiana in the United States is interesting. While at
one point all use of this plant was banned by the FDA, in the late 1990's they relaxed these
regulations. Yet companies are not allowed to specifically tout the use of this plant as a
sugar substitute. To read more, check out
this article, brought to you by Citizens' Voice for Health Rights.
- Take a look at a S. rebaudiana plant
in flower, from the Natural History of Kyoto City web site.
- Stop by the Paraguayan Stevia Home Page to
learn more about the farming of this herb in South America.
- If you would like to know more about other species in this genus, click here to go to its Biota of North America Program (BONAP) web page.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
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