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News Story
Updated: 07/11/2014 08:00:01AM

Chayote — squash of many names

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ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

Chayote grows on a rapidly growing vine. Provide a sturdy trellis for the vine to climb on. Guide the vine up at first — it will soon take over. Chayote may be grown as a perennial crop, and although the top may be harmed by freezes, it will usually come back from the root.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

Chayote is native to Guatemala and Mexico, but has been introduced to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Along its journey it picked up many different names, including vegetable pear, mirliton, choko, cho-cho or chow-chow, christophene, papamelo and mango squash.

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Slice open a chayote, Sechium edule, and you will see what makes it a most unusual member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Often this pear-shaped squash will be split at the blossom end and roots and a stem sprout may be showing. The chayote squash contains only one large seed.

Chayote is native to southern Mexico and Guatemala, but its cultivation has spread to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. Chayote is grown commercially in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and the Dominican Republic and is available year-round.

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