Thursday, January 16, 2014


Yaupon is North America's only native, caffeine producing plant.

Yaupon has the charming scientific name of Ilex vomitoria.  "Ilex" tells us it is a type of holly.  "vomitoria" was chosen by the first scientist who properly described this plant because yaupon was used to make a black beverage that Native Americans used as a social, stimulating beverage.  Apparently the Native Americans in the SEC conference were college frat boys and did not know they were having fun unless they were projectile vomiting.

There is a small cottage industry producing yaupon tea.  Inquiring minds can purchase yaupon tea from Texas Yaupon Tea or Cat Springs Tea.  The Boston Tea party was completely unnecessary give that yaupon grows well up into the Carolinas.  We did not need to import any stinking tea had we been aware of the resources that were already available to us.

The other native, caffeine producing plant in the Western Hemisphere is used to produce yerba mate, a popular beverage in South America.

As you can see, I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of being able to grow it in Michigan.  But it is a fairly popular landscaping plant in the Coastal regions where the heat and humidity simply flatten wimpy plants.  Like most hollies, it is very tolerant of trimming.

I first encountered yaupon in Naverre, Florida while visiting Mrs ERJ's Uncle.  It was growing EVERYWHERE.  It was a rangy, thorny, sparsely leafed tall bush that positively dripped with translucent red (sometimes yellow) berries.

I wish I could grow yaupon here.  It would be very cool to produce my own caffeinated beverage.


  1. I sell yaupon tea under the label 'Texas Yaupon Tea', and drink it every day. I prefer it over yerba mate.
    And you're right, the Boston Tea Party was completely unnecessary...never thought of it that way. Too bad they didn't pay more attention to what the Native Americans and 'poor Southerners' were drinking :)

  2. Thank-you for reading my blog. I hope you don't mind that I added a link to your website. It is very cool that you are growing and processing yaupon tea. Thanks for the heads up regarding your fine company.



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