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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/1/2013)

Flora Data (Last Modified On 8/1/2013)
Species Sechium edule (Jacq.) Sw.
PlaceOfPublication Fl. Ind. Occ. 1150. 1800.
Synonym Sicyos edulis Jacq., Enurn. P1. Carib. 32. 1760. TYPE: not known. Chayota edulis Jacq., Sel. Stirp. Amer. tab. 245. 1780. TYPE: not known. Sechium americantim Poir. in Lam., Encyc. Me'th. Bot. 7: 50. 1806. TYPE: not known. Cucumis acutangulus Descourt., Fl. Med. Antilles 5: 94. 1827; non L., 1753. TYPE: not known. Sicyos laciniatus Descoult., Fl. Med. Antilles 5: 103. 1827, non L., 1753. TYPE: not known. Sechium cayota Hernsley, Biol. Centr. Amer., Bot. 1: 491. 1880, pro syn.
Description High-climbing, perennial, monoecious, tendriled vines; stems 5- to 10-sulcate, glabrate. Leaves broadly ovate to suborbicular, 6-22 cm long, nearly as wide as long, 3- to 5-lobate or angulate, the lobes acute to acuminate, the base deeply cordate, the margin minutely and usually remotely toothed, chartaceous, appear- ing palmately 5- to 7-veined, the upper surface scabrous with white pustular based trichomes, the upper and the lower surfaces appressed puberulent on the veins; petioles 4-15 cm long, appressed puberulent or glabrate; tendrils 1- to 5- branched, glabrate. Staminate flowers in axillary, long pedunculate, interrupted racemes, the rachis 8-30 cm long, puberulent at least in the upper part, the flow- ers yellow, 2-6 in clusters; pedicels 1-6 mm long, puberulent; calyx hemispheric, the lobes 5-7 mm long, spreading or recurved, glabrate; corolla lobes ovate lan- ceolate, 12-17 mm long, acute, spreading, obscurely 5-nerved, both the surfaces papillose pubescent; stamens 3, the filaments connate, short, the anthers flexu- ous, spreading, 2 anthers bilocular, 1 anther unilocular, the connectives with bul- bous based cystolythic trichomes; nectiferous disc with 10 pores. Pistillate flow- ers 1-2, often in the same axils as the staminate flowers, the peduncles 1-3 cm long, rapidly elongating in fruit; calyx and corolla as in the staminate flowers; Ovary oblong, 5-sulcate, pubescent, uniloculate, the ovule solitary, pendulous, the style short, the stigma forming a subglobose, somewhat lobate head; 5-10 nectiferous pouches present. Fruits green, obovoid, sulcate, echinate or smooth, 7-20 cm long, firm, indehiscent; seed lenticular, 3-6 cm long, nearly as wide as long, the testa ligneous, smooth.
Habit vines
Note This species is widely distributed in the Neotropics where it is frequently cultivated for its edible fruits, tubers, and young shoots. Although a native species, it is rarely encountered in the wild. The fruits are usually boiled and then prepared in a number of ways (e.g. fried, baked, creamed). They can also be made into pickles. The large flat seed is generally cooked and served with the rest of the fruit or is removed for use alone as a table delicacy. The starchy underground tubers are sometimes cooked and eaten. The tender young shoots are occasionally cooked and eaten as spinach.
Common chayote guisayote
Common huisquil huisayote
Common chocho chitla
Specimen CANAL ZONE: U.S. Government Experimental Plantation, Frijoles, Greenman & Greenman 5155 (MO). Government forest along Las Cruces Trail, Hunter & Allen 698 (MO). Frijoles, Standley 31481 (US). CHIRIQUI: On mountains above Bambito, 1 mi S of Cerro Punta, Tyson 5770 (MO). COCLE: 2.5 mi above El Valle on road to La Mesa, Croat 13377 (F, NY, USF). La Mesa, above El Valle de Anton, ca. 2 km W of Cerro Pilon, Croat 37314 (MO). El Valle de Anton and vicinity, Duke 13234 (MO); Ebinger 957 (F, MO, US); Lewis et al. 2622 (MO); Seibert 418 (CGH, MO, NY).
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