Photo Credit: Carol Cloud Bailey Suggested cutline: Chaya is a popular vegetable in Mexico and Central America. The plant is now found in Florida and Texas where it may have naturalized in some locations. The young leaves and tender stem tips must be well cooked before consumption to destroy toxic components. Chaya is a cousin of the popular Jatropha and also functions as a lovely, drought tolerant, butterfly attracting plant for tropical landscapes.

Chaya, [Cnidoscolus Chayamansa] , Tree Spinach

Chaya has been refered to as an ideal food, and medicine, -it has more nutrition than Alfalfa, or Spinach. Chaya tastes good and is a little sweet when eaten raw, if cooked it is a good Spinach substitute.

According to the National Institute of Nutrition in Mexico City, -eating Chaya will have these benefits, –Improve blood circulation






–help digestion

–improve vision

–disinflame veins and hemorrhoids

–help lower cholesterol

–help reduce weight

–prevent coughs

–augment calcium in the bones

–decongest and disinfect the lungs

–prevent anemia by replacing iron in the blood

–improve memory and brain function

–combat arthritis and diabetes

Chaya is very easy to grow and will make a beautiful house, or porch potted plant or can be grown outside in areas that don’t have much frost, it can be grown as a hedge or used as living fence posts around the yard, it is a good food for Chickens, if wanting to boost the health of the chickens and the nutrition of the eggs.I also like to feed it to my escargot snails.

Chaya must not be cooked in Aluminum, as a toxic reaction can result causing diarrhea, Chaya gets a little tougher when cooked, so use the tender young leaves for cooking. Some types of Chaya have stinging hairs on the stems and leaves, the Chaya I have does not have any of these, so can be safely picked and eaten raw. I eat some raw Chaya for breakfast most mornings, when walking through my greenhouse to check on things before I go to work.

Chaya is easy to grow, and roots easily from woody stem cuttings, [I ship stem cuttings if you order Chaya] . Chaya grows well in most conditions, from dry to wet, and in most soil types, and will do well even in poor soil.  Chaya does not like to be left in standing water, so if grown in a pot make sure it has good drainage.

Using Chaya

Chaya can be used as a substitute for Lettuce in almost any dish, Chaya is very good in salads, and my Favorite, Burritos–

Flour Tortillas

Add Chaya leaf [no stems]

Add some Cheese

Add some Potato, or Yam

Add some hot sauce, [if you want]

Roll it up
and you can take it from here, !

Green Eggs and Ham

This is what you need, Eggs I raise my own Chickens, so I realy do have green eggs, and brown eggs.Some peppers if you like them, some Chaya leaf, and I like to add Sweet Potato leaves. also add onions or Garlic if you want to.And a piece of ham, or other meat.

and a blender

Put the eggs in the blender

Add the Peppers if you like them [I like Red Sevinas]  or if I want realy hot, Naga type–  then blend the peppers and eggs very well, [no big chunks of pepper]

Add your Chaya leaves to the eggs in the blender

Add Sweet Potato leaves if you have some, [or almost any other leafy green]

Add some salt if you want to, and blend it all together, and cook it like scrambled eggs.
Cook it until it is all solid [not liquid any more]

Just put it on a plate with a piece of Ham, –and I call it  “Green Eggs and Ham”

You know what to do from here!

Green Egg and Ham Burrito

Lay some Chaya leaves on a Tortilla, then add some green eggs from above, add some Ham, and then a little cheese.

I like this one very much!