Stevia rebaudiana

Zone: 8-10
Height: 10-12"

General: Edible cousin of lantana whose leaves have an intense sweet flavor. Can be a sugar substitute. Stevia is easy to grow in a moist, well-drained soil and plenty of bright sunlight.

Culinary Uses: This is prized as a "no calorie" sweetener and the compounds it contains are up to 150x sweeter than sugar and can be found in powder or liquid forms. The stevia extract can be used in a variety of treats - essentially any where that calls for sugar stevia can be used, the ratio would just need to be adjusted.

Medicinal Uses: Stevia has no calories and is essentially "sugar free". The sweetener is noted for its value as a tooth decay inhibitor and a plaque retardant. Studies also suggest benefits for people with hypertension and type-2 diabetes.

Ornamental Uses: This herb has slender, branched stems and flourishes well in temperate areas. The entire plant is considered "sweet" but the sweet glycosides are generally concentrated in the dark green serrated leaves.

*Research all plants before use. Silverleaf doesn't condone or endorse any medicinal plant use. Any one planning to use plants for medical purposes should check with a physician first.