Maté(redirected from Paraguay tea)
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the dried ground leaves of the evergreen tree Ilex paraguariensis. The tree itself is also called maté. Maté contains up to 1.8 percent caffeine, 0.05 percent theobromine, 9-12 percent tannins, essential oil, vitamins A, B, and C, and citric acid. It is used to prepare a tonic beverage used in South America as tea, which is drunk from a small vessel made from the fruit of a gourd, which is also called maté.
(Ilex paraguariensis), also yerba, a plant of the family Aquifoliaceae. The maté is an evergreen tree measuring 6–16 m tall. The opposite, obovate, and smooth leaves have crenate edges; they are 7–10 cm long and 4–5 cm across. The small, unisexual flowers are usually four-parted and gathered into axillary umbellate inflorescences. The maté most commonly is dioecious, although occasionally monoecious specimens with bisexual flowers are encountered. The fruit is a drupe with four to eight seeds.
The maté grows wild in South America, between 12° and 33° S lat. It is found at elevations of 500 to 900 m above sea level. The plant formerly grew in thickets, most of which have been destroyed. It is cultivated for its leaves and young shoots, which are used to prepare a tonic, also called maté. The plant is cultivated mainly in Brazil and bordering regions of Argentina and Paraguay. Annual production is about 200,000 tons.