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Pachira Aquatica (Water Chestnut) grows to a height of about 60 feet in the wild, but in cultivation is typically much shorter, often around 30 feet. Typically, it will produce very swollen trunks and has smooth greenish bark. Additionally, the crown is round, spreading and very dense. Leaves are dark green, evergreen, compound with 5 or more lance-shape leaflets, and overall 8 – 10 inches long.
Accordingly, flowers borne on inflorescences up to 14 inches long, almost hidden in the dense foliage. Blooms are 3 – 4 inches wide, with cream-color petals folding back to expose numerous stamens tips with crimson; which resemble a shaving brush. Furthermore, fruits are brown, woody pods reaching 12 inches in length and 5 inches in diameter, with tannish color seeds. Propagation is through seeds or cuttings, although they are also seeds are eaten raw, cooked or ground into flour for bread; leaves and flowers are likewise edible. Mostly they cultivate Pachira Aquatica (Water Chestnut) for their seeds, which taste like chestnuts.
It lives up to its water chestnut common name, growing well in poorly drained soils, swamps and along rivers. Although, it can be a larger specimen or accent tree in parks and gardens, it is also a popular potted bonsai house plant. As a bonsai, it may develop a bulbous trunk and be 3 – 4 feet tall; trained by braiding two trunks together to give it an unusual effect. Confusion exists about the identity of the woven-stemmed plants in the nursery trade, with french peanut (pachira glabra).
Other Name: Provision Tree