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Plant Informational Database

Malabar Chesnut

Pachira aquatica

a.k.a. Pachira glabra, Provision Tree, Guiana Chestnut, Saba Nut, Shaving Brush Tree

Brown pod fruit up to one foot long, containing several large seeds that are eaten as nuts. Raw seeds are supposed to taste a bit like peanuts, cooked seeds like chestnuts.

Seed Availability

Seeds are now available at our seed store.


Medium to large sized, spreading tree to over 60ft tall. Flowers are very fluffy and showy, having long, foot long petals drooping outwards from their center. Fruits burst open when ripe to expose the large seeds.


It is a fairly hardy tree, surviving to 28F in some sub-tropical climates such as Southern California, although it prefers a warmer year round climate.

Growing Environment

It naturally grows near freshwater streams and swamps, so provide ample water when cultivating. Despite its aquatic tendencies, the Malabar Chestnut can survive periods of drought. Grow in full sun or part shade, protect from dry winds and low humidity days.


Propagation is usually by seed, or by rooting cuttings.


Seeds are eaten raw or cooked, usually boiled, roasted, or fried. Leaves and flowers are eaten as vegetables.

Native Range

Native range extends from Mexico, through Central America and into northern South America. There is confusion between the two related Pachira species, the Malabar Chestnut and the Guiana Chestnut. While the trees are distinctly different in appearance, the scientific names are often used interchangably. For whatever reason, in the Western U.S. and Hawaii, P. aquatica often refers to the smaller fruiting Malabar Chestnut, while in the Eastern U.S. it refers to the larger fruiting Guiana Chestnut.

Related Species

Chorisia speciosa
Floss Silk Tree
Durio dulcis
Durio graveolens
Red Fleshed Durian
Durio isu
Durio oxleyanus
Durio testudinarium
Kura Kura
Durio zibethinus
Pachira aquatica
Malabar Chesnut
Pachira insignis
Guiana Chestnut
Patinoa almirajo
Quararibea cordata
South American Sapote
Quararibea funebris
Rosita de Cacao