Chayote (Sechium edule), also known as mirliton and choko, is an edible plant belonging to the gourd family, Cucurbitaceae. This fruit was first cultivated in the Mesoamericas between southern Mexico and Honduras, with the most genetic diversity available in both Mexico and Guatemala. It is one of several foods introduced to the Old World during the Columbian Exchange. At that time, the plant spread to other parts of the Americas, ultimately causing it to be integrated into the cuisine of many Latin American nations. The chayote fruit is mostly used cooked. When cooked, chayote is usually handled like summer squash; it is generally lightly cooked to retain the crispy consistency. Raw chayote may be added to salads or salsas, most often marinated with lemon or lime juice, but is often regarded as especially unpalatable and tough in texture. Whether raw or cooked, chayote is a good source of vitamin C. Although most people are familiar only with the fruit as being edible, the root, stem, seeds and leaves are edible as well. The tubers of the plant are eaten like potatoes and other root vegetables, while the shoots and leaves are often consumed in salads and stir fries, especially in Asia.