Plant Description  

Plant description

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

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

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.

Use and Preparation

Traditional uses

  • The skin of immature green fruit is used for treating hepatitis.
  • Use the bark medicinally for treating headaches and stomach complaints.
  • Tisane obtained from boiled bark is used as a tonic for blood.
  • Infusion of crushed leaves is used for treating burning sensation in the skin.
  • Immature fruit skin is used for treating hepatitis.
  • Use the bark for treating headaches and stomach complaints.
  • The decoction made from bark is used for treating high blood pressure, anemia, general debility and fatigue.

Culinary uses

  • Roast the seeds or fry it in oil.
  • Roasted seeds are used for preparing beverages.
  • Seeds are grounded into flour and used for making breads.
  • Cook young leaves and flowers and consume it as vegetable.
  • Add it to salads, stir fries and consume it as snack or ground and made into hot drink.

Recipe

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 200 g best pork sausages, skins removed
  • 200 g fresh chorizo sausages, skins removed
  • 100 g chestnuts (cooked and vacuum-packed), finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 500 g ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C/fan 180 °C/gas 6 and grease a baking sheet. In a bowl (a food processor is quickest), combine the sausage meat, chopped chestnuts and parsley, then season. Divide the pastry into halves and roll out into matching rectangles.
  2. Cut each rectangle into four strips, making two strips slightly wider than the other two (so you end up with four wider and four narrower strips). Shape the meat into thin sausage shapes and lay down the middle of the four narrower pastry strips. Brush the edges with the beaten egg, then lay the four wider pastry strips over the top and use a fork pressed along the edges to seal.
  3. Cut into 3 cm pieces and lay on the baking sheet, then brush with more beaten egg. Cook for 15 minutes until crisp and golden before cooling on a wire rack.

Nutritional value

  • The skin of immature green fruit is used for treating hepatitis.
  • Use the bark medicinally for treating headaches and stomach complaints.
  • Tisane obtained from boiled bark is used as a tonic for blood.
  • Infusion of crushed leaves is used for treating burning sensation in the skin.
  • Immature fruit skin is used for treating hepatitis.
  • Use the bark for treating headaches and stomach complaints.
  • The decoction made from bark is used for treating high blood pressure, anemia, general debility and fatigue.