The Stevia plant was first classified as Eupatorium rebaudianum in 1899 in Paraguay by the Swiss botanist Moises Santiago Bertoni. It was renamed Stevia rebaudiana six years later. Like sunflowers, Stevia belongs to the so-called composite family (Compositae).
Stevia was first commercially marketed in Japan in the early 1970s. There, the natural sweetener now claims a large market share. Stevia is mainly grown in China, Kenya, Paraguay and the United States, but is also widely grown in many other regions of the world, including Argentina, Brazil, India, Colombia, Spain, Portugal and Vietnam.