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erva mate fruto verde cacador novembro 2

facts in pictures

Naturally, yerba mate develops in more advanced stages of the Araucaria Forest, installing itself when there is already shade for its growth. Its fruits are highly appreciated by birds in general, making it an important source of food for native fauna, which also contributes to the dispersion of the species in the landscape.

In addition to feeding birds with its fruits, and humans with its processed leaves, yerba mate is an important reference for several other animal species, such as insects, for example. Many of these insects help the yerba mate to be pollinated and generate seeds that, digested and dispersed by birds, represent the beginning of new forests day after day.

In this section of our website, we provide those interested in the dynamics and natural associations of yerba mate, a small gallery with photographs that show some stages of evolution and maturation of this plant and also the interactions of the plant with animals within the Araucaria Forests, natural habitat of yerba mate.

Ilex paraguariensis  and its biology: flowers and fruits

The images that follow, seek to represent the natural structures of yerba mate for its pollination and reproduction of the species, therefore, below we present photographs describing the flowers, fruits and stages of ripening and the life cycle of a yerba mate tree.

Yerba mate pollinating agents

Insects are largely responsible for the pollination of yerba mate flowers, thus, they can be considered the great reproducers of this tree species. Below, some images show that several flying insects frequent the flowers of the  Ilex paraguariensis  within traditional shaded yerba mate systems:

Birds, the seed dispersers 

Several species of birds frequent the Araucaria Forests and feed on the fruits of yerba mate. Below, you can see some of these animals that were caught feeding on this tree, and then, when releasing the digested seeds, disperse future trees. The birds described here were identified by Arnaldo Soares:

Parasites and pests on yerba mate

Some insects and arachnids are also part of the ecosystem where yerba mate is naturally inserted. Thus, species of this genus sometimes feed on the leaves or vascular system of this plant, which may pose risks, when on a large scale, to the health of the tree. For this reason, they are called pests. Below, some images represent how these animals feed on the plant and the results of this in the physical appearance of the yerba mate:

Yerba mate pruning and traditional systems

Human beings, when they want to feed on the leaves of yerba mate, perform pruning, which occurs at specific times of the year. Generally, within three years, with the regrowth of the branches with leaves, the yerba mate is ready to receive another pruning. Below are two examples of traditional styles of pruning and growing yerba mate: