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Pachira aquatica – Wikipedia

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**Description of Pachira Aquatica**:
– Pachira aquatica is a tropical wetland tree in the mallow family Malvaceae, native to Central and South America.
– It can grow up to 18 meters or 60 feet in height in the wild.
– Features shiny green palmate leaves with lanceolate leaflets and smooth green bark.
– Showy flowers with long, narrow petals that open like a banana peel.
– Produces large, brown, woody capsules containing 10–25 nuts.

**Cultivation of Pachira Aquatica**:
– Thrives in moist, frost-free areas and can be grown from seed or cutting.
– Requires bright light but not direct sunlight and adapts well to various conditions.
– Grows well in common potting soil or water in a hydroponic system.
– Matures at 4–5 years old, producing fruit in spring and fall.
– Can withstand temperatures as low as 5°C without losing its leaves.

**Cultural Significance**:
– Known as the shake money tree in East Asia, symbolizing good financial fortune.
– Popular as an ornamental plant in Japan and other East Asian countries.
– Associated with good luck and prosperity, often adorned with red ribbons in businesses.
– Often confused with the similar species P. glabra.
– Plays a significant role in Taiwan’s agricultural export economy.

**Chemical Composition and Health Concerns**:
– Nuts contain cyclopropenoid fatty acids (CPFAs) considered potentially harmful.
– CPFAs linked to carcinogenic and co-carcinogenic effects on animals.
– Research suggests CPFA in food can be dangerous to human health.
– Limited studies on the health effects of consuming the nuts.
– Despite risks, nuts are used in medicine.

**Phytoremediation Benefits**:
– Pachira aquatica improves indoor air quality by reducing volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
– VOCs are released from various products and activities, posing health risks.
– Chronic exposure to high VOC levels can lead to serious health issues.
– Helps reduce VOCs from building materials, home products, and household activities.
– Contributes to a healthier indoor environment by absorbing harmful VOCs.

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