Malabar Chestnut
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Malabar Chestnut
ntroduced Photo: Aarti Khale
Common name: Malabar Chestnut, Guiana chestnut, provision tree, saba nut, money tree
Botanical name: Pachira aquatica    Family: Malvaceae (Mallow family)
Synonyms: Pachira grandiflora

Malabar Chestnut is a tropical wetland tree which can grow up to 18 m (60 ft) in height in the wild. It has shiny green digitate leaves with lanceshaped leaflets 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 large, woody pod. The nuts are light brown, striped with white. They are said to taste like peanuts, and can be eaten raw, cooked, or ground into flour to make bread. The leaves and flowers are also edible. The tree grows well as a tropical ornamental in moist, frost-free areas, and can be started from seed or cutting. It is a durable plant and adapts well to different conditions. Malabar Chestnut is native to the American continents.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Lalbagh Botanical Garden & NCBS campus, Bangalore.

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