Stevia is a remarkable plant that is used in many parts of the world as a natural herbal sweetener. In Japan, for example, about 40% of the sweetener market is stevia-based. Stevia leaves are 30 times sweeter than sugar but contain virtually no calories. It is native to South America, where its use as a sweetener has been known for at least 1,500 years. In the U.S., due to pressure from the powerful sugar lobby, Stevia is regulated by the FDA and until recently could be offered only as a dietary supplement (or skin care product) but not as a food additive or sweetener. Stevia is a tender, perennial herb that is usually grown as an annual but may be overwintered indoors. Full sun to part shade, grows to a height of about 30 inches.