In East Asia, Pachira aquatica (Chinese: é¦¬æå·´æ ; pinyin: MÇlÄbÄ lÃ¬; literally: "Malabar chestnut") is often referred to as the "money tree" (ç¼è²¡æ¨¹ fÄcÃ¡i shÃ¹). The ... Read more tree had long been popular as an ornamental in Japan. In 1986, a Taiwanese truck driver first cultivated five small trees in a single flowerpot with their trunks braided. The popularity of these ornamentals took off in Japan and later much of the rest of East Asia. They are symbolically associated with good financial fortune and are typically seen in businesses, sometimes with red ribbons or other auspicious ornamentation attached. The trees play an important role in Taiwan's agricultural export economy with exports of NT$250 million (US$7 million) in 2005. However, much of what is in cultivation sold as Pachira aquatica is, in actuality, a similar species, P. glabra, which develops a thick base at a younger age and has a smaller growth habit, less showy flowers, and a 6" green seed pod rather than 12" brown seed pod.Read less
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