Scientific Name – Pachira aquatica Aubl.
Synonim – Pachira grandiflora Tuss., Pachira macrocarpa Walp., Bombex aquaticum Schum.
Common name(s) – provision tree, Guiana Chestnut, Saba Nut, Shaving Brush Tree (US), mulungu (Brazilia), paineira de Cuba (Brazilia si Rio di Janeiro), Castanha das Guianas (Brazilia), castano (Venezuela), pachira (Republica Dominicana), piton (Mexic), zapoton (Columbia), wild cocoa (Guyana).
Distribution and Habitat – growing naturally along rivers and other bodies of water, from sea level to 1300 m altitude, at temperatures of 24 ̊C.
Description – small tree to 10 m high; trunk 25-60 cm in diameter, short, tortuous, bark lightly fissured, thick, with strong characteristic smell. Leaves alternate, compound; stipules lanceolate; petiole up to 24 cm long; leaflets 4-6, elliptic-lanceolate 5-28 x 2.5-14.5 cm, apex acuminate to rounded, base cuneate, margins entire or undulating, strongly coriaceous, glabrous. Flowers bisexual, solitary or 2-3, terminal; pedicels 1.5-3 cm long. Calyx entire, tubular, greenish-brown, 15-20 mm long; petals 5, spatulate to linear, yellowish or greenish, to 30 cm long, margins strongly incurved at anthesis; stamens 180-260; filaments 8-15 cm long, anthers 3-4 mm long, reddish; ovary conical, 5 mm long, 5-locular, ovules numerous. Flowering in March-April. Fruit oblong-ellipsoid capsule, 20-30 cm long, 10-12 cm diameter. Seeds 10-25 per capsule, 3 cm diameter. 2n = 72
Growth rate – fast. Can flower the first time at 3-4 years, and fruits when are about 4 years.
Tolerances – resistant to drought and flooding; it can tolerate brief exposure to -2 ̊C.
Requirements – grows well in full sun or partial shade.
Management – regular watering and fertilization.
Propagation – by seeds. Germination at 8-11 days, fast growth and attain 60 cm in 2 months. After 25 days germination is 52 percent.
Pest and Diseases – Dryoctenis scrupulosas, Steirastoma depressum.
Garden Partners – Symphonia globulifera, Virola surinamensis, Pterocarpus officinalis, Mora excelsa, Tabebuia aquatilis.
Properties and Uses – seeds are edible, raw or cooked.
Pachira aquatica is used in hedges, it is an excellent ornamental species.
J. Janick, R. E. Paull – The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts – CABI, 2008
Klaus Kubitzki, Clemens Bayer – Flowering Plants – Springer, 2002
Nico Vermeulen – Encyclopedia of House Plants – Routledge, 1999
Thomas Croat – Flora of Barro Colorado Island - Stanford University Press, 1978
Trees and shrubs
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