Malabar Chestnut - Pachira Aquatica

The Pachira Aquatica is a popular house plant that goes by the names Malabar Chestnut, Money tree or Fortune tree. Being an aquatic plant it thrives with lots of water. The image above is of a Malabar Chestnut that I have in my living room and I have not found it difficult to care for.
The images above and below are of two different Pachira Aquatica trees from two different botanical gardens ("La Concepcion" in Malaga (above) and "Molino de Inca" in Torremolinos (below)). They seem a bit different in color,texture and shape which makes me wonder if in fact they are both Pachira Aquatica. The three images below are all form the same tree.

One feature that makes this tree interesting as a house or garden plant is that it can be braided like the one below.

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  1. The tree with the brown pod and red stamens is Pachira aquatica("MalaBar Chestnut"). The tree with the green pod (which will have white flowers) is Bombacopsis glabra (alternately Bombax glabra/Pachira glabra, Pachira macrocarpa), the "French Peanut". The plant in your living room is a French Peanut. They are sold interchangeably, although they do not crossbreed. Pachira aquatica grows more quickly. They way to tell the difference is in the shape of the leaves and that B. glabra foliage has distinctly horizontal venation, while P. aquatica is angled in relation to the petiole. Frenh Peanut are quite tasty, P. aquatica can be eaten...if you're very hungry.

  2. My Pachira, with beautiful white flowers tipped with yellow, is flowering at the moment (November 22)in Durban, South Africa. From Barry's comments It would seem to be B.glabra - I will check the venation in the morning - although so far I have thought it looked just the same as those being sold online as "money trees" or water chestnut trees.
    This is the second year of flowering and this time the flowers are prolific - we have had good rains after a long dry season.
    How would you eat the seeds? Roast them? They are said to make a good cocoa-type drink?
    It' beauty and fragrance along make it special - if it tastes like chocolate, too, that's almost too good to be true.
    Would love to know more.

  3. French peanut are good raw. If your tree has a green seed capsule, it's French Peanut. Just pop the seeds out of their papery coating and much away. For Pachira aquatica (brown pod), you can try roasting them, but I don't know whether you'll find it palatable.

  4. Nice pics and Great blog!

    Learned much from all wrote above..

    ..but Pachira aquatica syn. Pachira macrocarpa.

    Pachira glabra (as Barry had said) will have white flowers.

    Jero Smith Ju
    jerojetw @

  5. I have just bought a Pachira Aquatica in Ikea Perth Western Australia.
    Having never heard of or seen this plant before, does it grow beter planted in the garden or will it produce flowers and fruit in a pot. I currently have it in the pot inside. The base is about 3" in diameter and it stands approx 20" high. Will it flower inside? It cost $39.95aus.

  6. i've had my plant for about 4 years now, and it's grown about a foot while kept indoors. it's never flowered or grown pods. does it need to be outdoors for it to bloom? does it need to be in a lot of sun before blooming? if anyone knows, please let me know. also, it's getting some clear beads of sweet sap on the underside of the leaves. what does this mean? does it need something?

  7. The Pachira will not fruit indoors. The must be in full sun in order to fruit. The potted plants are too small in order to fruit. only when planted outside they will reach the size needed in order to set fruit.

  8. I grew up in Barbados and there was only one tree on the island but no one knew the name. Its flower before opening up it resembled a penis and everyone call the tree the dogie tree. I am glas I now know the real name.
    Hans Van-Ellis

  9. I have one growing in my yard in South Florida. It took about 5 years before it fruited. It's exploded with growth this past year getting to 10-15 ft in height.

    I've found the best method to process the nuts is to boil them in salt brine for 10 minutes, take them out and peel the thin brown/white stiped outer covering to expose the white flesh, then roast them in the oven.

  10. has anyone ever tasted the sap beads? its a very sugar heavy sap. reminds me of maple syrup or agave nector.

  11. Are the sap droplets edible? I taste one accidentally and it was very sweet. Seems okay but I wanted to be sure. :)

  12. I am in South Africa, where can I order the Pachira aquatica tree, pls help?