Pachira aquatic is a small to medium sized and much branched deciduous tree which reaches to the height of 17 meters having stout trunk of 90 cm diameter and buttress base. Bark is greenish when young and grey when mature. The petioles are tomentose and 11-15 cm long. Leaves are palmately compound, alternate and have 5–11 leaflets and 11–15 cm long or tomentose petioles. Leaflets are elliptic oblong or ovate-elliptical, lustrous green and about 13–28 cm long by 5–8 cm wide. Flowers are large, solitary, showy, olive green and up to 31 cm long. Fruit is ellipsoid or subglobose, pyriform dehiscent capsule upto 30 cm long by 12 cm thick, hard and olive green when immature that turns to dark brown. Fruits have five valves which is packed with numerous seeds in non-fibrous pulp. Seeds are subglobose, about 2.5 cm by 1.5–2 cm and dark brown with white spiral markings.
Flowers have large, creamy white petals which curl back to the base of the flower and leaves spectacular clusters of 7.5 to 10cm cream-white stamens.
Fruit is five valved, woody green pod which reaches 30 cm long and 6 cm in diameter. Seeds are tightly packed and the pods burst causing the seeds to fall in the ground. Seeds are rounded and edible raw or roasted.
Seeds are consumed raw or roasted. This tree grows alongside rivers and estuaries and tropical swamps in the native range. It expands from sea level to 1300 meters in frost free areas with average temperatures of 24°C or higher. This hardy plant does well to various conditions and is drought tolerant and shade and is sold as ornamental houseplants in many countries.
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