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Money Tree (Pachira)

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Pachira aquatica is a tropical wetland tree native to Central and South America where it grows in swamps. It is known by the common names Malabar chestnut, Guiana chestnut, provision tree, saba nut, and is commercially sold under the name money tree. Pachira aquatica can grow up to 18 meters in height in the wild. It has shiny green palmate leaves and smooth green bark. Its showy flowers have long, narrow petals that open like a banana peel to reveal hairlike yellowish orange stamens. The tree is cultivated for its edible nuts which grow in a very large, woody pod. The nuts are light brown, striped with white. They are said to taste like peanuts, and can be eaten raw or cooked or ground into a flour to make bread. The leaves and flowers are also edible.

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      06.09.2001 23:26
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      The money plant (or Jade plant as it is known in China) has become more popular over the past few years and will often be seen gracing the foyer of an office building but even more likely to be the focus of someone's living room. It comes from the family of succulents, and looks not unlike some cactus plants, but without the prickly bits! I acquired mine two years ago when I went to a plant sale. I had never heard of it or seen it before, but the cutting looked quite attractive, so I bought it at 50p. I planted the cutting straight into a pot with good potting compost, watered it well and put it on the window sill and a few weeks later, there was evidence that it had 'taken' as there were more leaves sprouting out. It is now a healthy plant around 18 inches high. It is an attractive plant with small green leathery leaves, and grows in the shape of a bonsai although it is normal size, not miniature like bonsais. It is very easy to look after, not minding a dry spell if you forget to water it too regularly, and although it loves the sunlight, mine tolerates being a bit away from the window. It is quite hardy and there is no need to mist the plant as you have to with some others in the dry hot spells. Although they are meant to have tiny flowers in the growing season, I have yet to see any on mine. The money plant likes to be a bit pot-bound, so there is no need to repot every spring. The money plant is believed to bring wealth and happiness to its owner, and is especially lucky if a cutting or plant is given to someone rather than them buying it themselves. It will grow quite happily for many years, not being as fussy as more temperamental indoor plants, and one that I saw at my local garden centre one weekend was more like a tree and around 6ft tall! It may be wise to prune yours before it reaches that height! As the money plant is slow growing, it will be many years before you have to start worrying.

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