Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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chaya Cnidoscolus chayamansa, also known as tree spinach, is a shrub indigenous to C. America, belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae. It may have future potential as a food resource, given the impressive content of nutrients in its abundant green leaves. These are covered with stinging hairs, and are not eaten raw; but, when young and tender, they can be cooked and eaten like spinach.

A regional speciality of Yucatan is Tzotobilchay, a tamale made of maize dough, ground squash seeds, and chaya leaves.