Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chayote, Mirliton, Cho Ko, Cho-Cho, Vegetable Pear, Christophene
Sechium edule

Family: Cucurbitaceae (koo-ker-bih-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sechium (SEK-ee-um) (Info)
Species: edule (ED-yew-lee) (Info)

14 members have or want this plant for trade.

Edible Fruits and Nuts
Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Vines and Climbers

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Fall/Early Winter


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 19 photos.
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7 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive Lafiet On Feb 26, 2014, Lafiet from Windhoek
Namibia wrote:

Verry nice fruit growing in my garden in Namibia / during this month February i harvest 8 fruits and more is to come.
Easy growing , myne are growing on a fence made from reeds.
I like to cut them in strips and stir-fry them in olive oil with some onions , some green pepper and few rocket leaves which i only put in quickly at the end together with little sugar to bind all the flavours with a sticky sause / togheter with stir-fry in the same pan i like baking pork lion chops and then all this stir-fry served on top of the pork chop is real nice / also good with fish.
I think more people should try this plant it is real nice and grows real easy ....

Positive PeterMansfield On Jan 16, 2014, PeterMansfield from Durban
South Africa wrote:

I believe this plant has the potential to feed poor people in many or most parts of the of the world.

Locally (Durban, South Africa) they grow like weeds and are called Sou-Sous. Wait of it to sprout, plant it in the ground and water it occasionally. In sunshine or in shade (they will climb till they find the sun). There cannot be another plant that offers so much reward for so little effort.

Sou-Sous are very edible and are laden with many vitamins and minerals.

Let every Sou-Sous bloom. They could make a major and self-sustaining contribution to solving world hunger.

Beauty queens take note. I an serious!

Positive AverageJoeTX On Jul 29, 2007, AverageJoeTX from Devine, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This squash is tasty julienned, dredged in flour, and fried like small french fries. The vine itself can be rampant, so plant where you would like a fence or trellis covered. Chayote makes up for its wild behavior by bearing prolifically. The vines have survived winters in zone 8a (in FL) and possibly further north, however it needs at least a 6 month growing season to set fruit. Would definitely recommend this squash for veggie gardeners with a sizable garden plot and/or lots of vertical support.

Positive josef24 On Jul 28, 2006, josef24 from Hove
United Kingdom wrote:

This plant grows quite freely in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
It grows practically wild. It is a real treat to eat. It is like a
It is good steamed or boiled. Serve with a pat of butter and a little salt & pepper. It is wonderful stuffed with
minced beef or lamb or shrimp ( par boil,cut in half, stuff and place in the oven for a 20 -30 minutes)

Positive Kameha On Apr 21, 2005, Kameha from Kissimmee, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is one of the easiest plants to germinate. I just let the fruit start to shrivel at room temperature in the kitchen and it actually germinates without any soil! I plant them when the vine gets over 4 inches long and when the roots start to form but you can just bury fruits in a mound and they will germinate. I like to trellis mine but some people grow them as sprawling vines on the ground. They grow very fast and have pretty cucumber like leaves. You can even grow them on fences.

Positive AethyrDragon On Mar 10, 2005, AethyrDragon from Cape Town
South Africa wrote:

This plant is known in South Africa as Shoe-Shoe, Sjoe-Sjoe or Tjoe-Tjoe. We are in the Western Cape (Winter rainfall - Temperate) and are currently trying to grow a plant to see if we can get any fruit as we've only encountered it growing in more tropical areas and we love the taste!!

Neutral Xenomorf On Oct 21, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

According to the Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database, there are 6 types (cultivars).
Dark-green-fruited, Pale-green-fruited, Round-fruited, Spiny-fruited, Thin-fruited & White-fruited.

Positive Michaelp On Oct 8, 2002, Michaelp from Glendale, UT (Zone 5a) wrote:

Good to eat and grows well--Plant the whole fruit with the stem end up and exposed.The fruit has some short but sharp thorns on the bottom of the more mature fruit. Produces a rampant vine /needs good support/not frost tolerant/fruit and large starchy root is eddible/root will grow back next year if mulched to prevent frost damage/vine flowers and fruits only during short days of fall and winter/harvest from november till frost /can weigh over 2 lbs/likes rich well drained soil/I have seen no pests yet.Eat-creamed,fried,boiled,buttered,and canned,good in salad.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Chowchilla, California
Chipley, Florida
Fort Pierce, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Honomu, Hawaii
Gramercy, Louisiana
Lafayette, Louisiana
Raceland, Louisiana
Brownsville, Texas
Devine, Texas
Red Oak, Texas
Benidoleig, Virginia

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