Ilex parguariensis grows between latitudes 10°S and 30°S. It is native to:

  • Brazil (Mato Grosso do Sul , Minas Gerais, Parana, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio do Janeiro, Santa Caterina , São Paulo)
  • Uruguay (Maldonado, Tacuarembo, Treinta y Tres)
  • Argentina (Misiones and Northeast of Corrientes)
  • Paraguay (Alto Parana, Amambay, Caaguazu, Canendeyu, Central, Guaira, Itapua, Misiones, San Pedro)

It is also cultivated in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.


Wild Ilex paraguariensis grows intermingled with other trees in forests which occur along the banks of rivers and streams. The soils are usually clay or sand, high in phosphoric acid and potassium with an acidic pH.

Growing in subtropical and temperate regions Ilex paraguariensis requires high humidity levels and more than 1,000mm precipitation per year, with the rainfall well distributed throughout the year. 

It occurs in regions with an average temperature of 21°C, however, yerba mate can withstand very low temperatures.

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