Chaya, Spinach tree, Chay, Kikilchay
Chaya belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family. It is native to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, where it grows naturally in thickets and open forests. It is widely cultivated in Mexico and Central America, often planted in hedges and home gardens.
It has been introduced to southern Florida and Hawaii. In Hawaii, the wild relative of chaya (C. acontifolius) was introduced, but its food quality is inferior to that of C. chayamansa and it tends to become weedy.
Chaya is shrub, 10-20 ft (3-5 m) tall, with thick and succulent main stem inches (10 cm) in diameter. The side branches are uniformly inch (2-3 cm) in diameter with dark green, palmately lobed leaves up to inches (22 cm) wide. Its stems and petioles contain white latex fluid that can be irritating to the skin. Flowering seldom occurs, and the plant rarely produces seed.