Chaya is a fast-growing, drought-tolerant, perennial shrub, typically reaching 3 m in height. As one of its common names (spinach tree) implies, it is grown for its dark-green leaves, which it produces in abundance. Chaya's young leaves and thick succulent stems make a tasty, nutritious, non-slimy vegetable when cooked. Both the domesticated strains, known as Chaya mansa, and the wild forms, Chaya brava, are edible. However, the wild forms characteristically possess stinging epidermal hairs that are highly irritating to the harvester's skin.