One of the most common indoor potted tree plants is the "Money tree" (also known as the "Lucky money tree" or the "Bonsai money tree" or even "French Peanut"). There is considerable confusion it seems as to the species of tree that these "money trees" belong to. They are almost always listed as being "Pachira aquatica" in nurseries and plant shops. The truth however is that there are several species in the pachira genus that are used to make the braided money trees and in my opinion the most commonly used is not pachira aquatica but rather parchira glabra (sometimes called Bombax glabra or Bombacopsis glabra).
The differnce between the p. aquatica and the p. glabra can be easily seen in the fruit and the flower. p. aquatica has a flower with redish stamens while the p. glabra has a flower with creamy white stamens. The fruit of the p. aquatica is woody brown with a rough texture while that of the p. glabra is green and has a smooth surface.
These two distinctives are of little use however if what you are trying to do is identify a potted money tree plant that in all likelyhood will never have neither flower nor fruit pod. This leaves just the leaves as the source of differences to determine the true species.
One of the reader comments on my previous post about the p. aquatica tiped me off to the difference. The venation of the p. glabra is more horizontal with respect to the petiole while the p. aquatica is slightly more angled. From my observations the leaflet shape is also slighly different with the p. glabra being a bit more long and pointy and the p. aquatica a bit more round and less pointed.
The images above and below are from a braided money tree plant that was planted in the Torrremolinos botanical garden "molino de inca". I happend to come across it when it had fruit that was mature enough to check the color and texture.
Links to pachira glabra sites...