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a genus of herbaceous plants of the family Cucurbitaceae. The genus has only one species—chayote (S. edule)—a large perennial with a climbing tendriled stem that reaches several meters in length. The leaves have five lobes and reach 20 cm in length. The yellowish white flowers are unisexual (the plant is monoecious). The staminate flowers are in racemes, and the pistillate ones are solitary. The fruits are large, weighing 100 g to 1 kg (most often 250 to 500 g); they contain one very large seed.
Chayote is cultivated in Mexico, Central America, the southern USA, and several other countries as a valuable high-yielding food plant. It is unknown in the wild. The unripe fruits are eaten raw, or they are stewed, roasted, boiled, salted, or pickled. The roots form starchy tubers that taste something like yams. Chayote is often used in the same way as spinach or asparagus. The stems yield a material used for making hats and other woven articles.
REFERENCESIpat’ev, A. N. Ovoshchnye rasteniia zemnogo shara. Minsk, 1966.
Pristupa, A. A. Osnovnye syr’evye rasteniia i ikh ispol’-zovanie. Leningrad, 1973.