Introduction: The distribution of Stevia pilosa Lag. and its metabolite content with therapeutic properties have been documented; however, there are no reports of in situ development and factors influencing plant growth.
Objective: To quantify the growth and phytochemical and nutrient content of S. pilosa plants in situ under three edaphoclimatic conditions in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico.
Materials and methods: At the three sites called Huasca de Ocampo (HO), Mineral del Chico (MCh) and Mineral del Monte (MM), with different climates, soil types and elevation ranges, soil was collected and three plant samplings were carried out to follow the development of the species.
Results and discussion: The number of plants varied according to the sampling sites, being higher in MCh (12 plants·m-2). Growth rate and leaf area were directly related. In MCh and MM plants, net photosynthesis only supplied the demand in the first two samplings, where there was significant accumulation (P ≤ 0.05) of matter, while in HO it supplied all the samplings. MCh and HO plants had a higher nutrient concentration (P ≤ 0.05). MCh and MM plants showed a higher concentration of phenols and flavonoids, and HO plants stood out in total terpenes.
Conclusions: The edaphoclimatic conditions at the three sites in the state of Hidalgo modified the presence, form of growth and development of S. pilosa.