Stevia is a perennial plant from the Chrysanthemum family, with the benefit of sweet-tasting leaves. The plant was first classified in 1904 by Swiss scientist Moises Santiago Bertoni who named it Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni after himself.
Bertoni first heard of the plant from the native people during an expedition to the eastern part of Paraguay in 1887. It wasn't until 1888 that he received his first Stevia leaves from Northern Paraguay where it was used to sweeten Mate tea. His initial evaluation in 1889 was that the leaves belonged to the Eupatorium family and he gave the name Eupatorium rebaudiana Bertoni. Later, in 1904, he received his first plant with flowers on it and after further identification he determined it was not from the Eupatorium but from the Stevia family and re-named it Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni.
According to Blake (1926) and Robinson (1931), there are over 154 varieties of stevia found in Latin America, while Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni is the only variety that provides sweetness.