Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Cnidoscolus aconitifolius (chaya).

Abstract

Cnidoscolus aconitifolius is a shrub or small tree native to southern Mexico and Central America, with a long history of cultivation for its edible leaves and other purposes, dating back to the Mayan civilization. It is believed to have its origins in the Yucatán Peninsula, spreading due to domestication. It has been widely introduced as a cultivated plant in warmer parts of the world, and become naturalized in the wild in some countries, but it is not widely reported as invasive. It has been reported as invasive in the Galapagos Islands, but other sources indicate that it is not abundant in the wild there. In Cuba, it is reported as a transformer species, naturalized and spreading in some habitats, without further details. In most of the countries where it has been introduced, either there is not enough information available, or it is reported with a low possibility of becoming invasive because the cultivated forms reproduce mostly by stem cuttings. PIER (2018), however, assess it as being of high risk for the Pacific islands.