The holly family, of five genera, is distributed from the north to the south temperate zones, with representation in every continent. It includes trees and shrubs of one hundred and seventy-five species, seventy of which grow in northern Brazil. The dried and powdered leaves of two holly trees of Paraguay are commercially known as mate, or Paraguay tea, to which the people of South America are addicted, as we are to the tea of China.
"Yerba mate" has a remarkable, stimulating effect upon the human system, fortifying it for incredible exertions and endurance. Indulged in to excess, it has much the effect of alcohol.
China and Japan have thirty different species of holly. America has fourteen, four of which assume tree form; the rest are shrubby " winterberries."