Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Pachira aquatica
(pachira nut)

Areces-Berazain F, 2018. Pachira aquatica (pachira nut). Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CABI. DOI:10.1079/ISC.39234.20203483349

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Datasheet

Pachira aquatica (pachira nut)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 11 December 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Pachira aquatica
  • Preferred Common Name
  • pachira nut
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Pachira aquatica is a tree of seasonally inundated plains of Central and South America. It is often cultivated as an ornamental and has been introduced for this purpose in the USA, the Antilles, Paraguay and many Old World countries, wher...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); fruits and foliage. Sun Yat Sen Park Keokea, Maui, Hawaii, USA. August 2007.
TitleFruits and foliage
CaptionPachira aquatica (pachira nut); fruits and foliage. Sun Yat Sen Park Keokea, Maui, Hawaii, USA. August 2007.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); fruits and foliage. Sun Yat Sen Park Keokea, Maui, Hawaii, USA. August 2007.
Fruits and foliagePachira aquatica (pachira nut); fruits and foliage. Sun Yat Sen Park Keokea, Maui, Hawaii, USA. August 2007.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); habit. Pali o Waipio, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2012.
TitleHabit
CaptionPachira aquatica (pachira nut); habit. Pali o Waipio, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2012.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); habit. Pali o Waipio, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2012.
HabitPachira aquatica (pachira nut); habit. Pali o Waipio, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2012.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); leaves, trunk and bark
Pali o Waipio, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2012.
TitleLeaves, trunk and bark
CaptionPachira aquatica (pachira nut); leaves, trunk and bark Pali o Waipio, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2012.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); leaves, trunk and bark
Pali o Waipio, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2012.
Leaves, trunk and barkPachira aquatica (pachira nut); leaves, trunk and bark Pali o Waipio, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2012.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); leaves, spent flowers and flower buds. Pali o Waipio, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2012.
TitleLeaves
CaptionPachira aquatica (pachira nut); leaves, spent flowers and flower buds. Pali o Waipio, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2012.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); leaves, spent flowers and flower buds. Pali o Waipio, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2012.
LeavesPachira aquatica (pachira nut); leaves, spent flowers and flower buds. Pali o Waipio, Maui, Hawaii, USA. November 2012.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); flower and leaves. Kula Botanical Garden, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2011.
TitleFlower
CaptionPachira aquatica (pachira nut); flower and leaves. Kula Botanical Garden, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2011.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); flower and leaves. Kula Botanical Garden, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2011.
FlowerPachira aquatica (pachira nut); flower and leaves. Kula Botanical Garden, Maui, Hawaii, USA. March 2011.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); fruit, sectioned with seeds exposed. Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. December 2009.
TitleFruit
CaptionPachira aquatica (pachira nut); fruit, sectioned with seeds exposed. Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. December 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); fruit, sectioned with seeds exposed. Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. December 2009.
FruitPachira aquatica (pachira nut); fruit, sectioned with seeds exposed. Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. December 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); fruit, sectioned with seeds exposed. Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. December 2009.
TitleFruit
CaptionPachira aquatica (pachira nut); fruit, sectioned with seeds exposed. Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. December 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachira nut); fruit, sectioned with seeds exposed. Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. December 2009.
FruitPachira aquatica (pachira nut); fruit, sectioned with seeds exposed. Haiku, Maui, Hawaii, USA. December 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachire nut); fallen seed pod, with dry seeds. Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. October 2007.
TitleSeed pod
CaptionPachira aquatica (pachire nut); fallen seed pod, with dry seeds. Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. October 2007.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Pachira aquatica (pachire nut); fallen seed pod, with dry seeds. Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. October 2007.
Seed podPachira aquatica (pachire nut); fallen seed pod, with dry seeds. Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula, Maui, Hawaii, USA. October 2007.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Pachira aquatica Aubl.

Preferred Common Name

  • pachira nut

Other Scientific Names

  • Bombax aquaticum (Aubl.) K.Schum.
  • Bombax macrocarpum (Schltdl. & Cham.) K. Schum.
  • Bombax rigidifolium Ducke
  • Carolinea grandiflora (Tussac) Spach
  • Carolinea macrocarpa Schltdl. & Cham.
  • Pachira grandiflora Tussac
  • Pachira longifolia Hook.
  • Pachira macrocarpa (Schltdl. & Cham.) Walp.
  • Pachira pustulifera Pittier
  • Pachira spruceana Decne.
  • Pachira villosula Pittier
  • Sophia carolina L.

International Common Names

  • English: guiana chestnut; Guyana chestnut; Malabar chestnut; money plant; money tree; provision tree; Saba nut; water chestnut
  • Spanish: apombo (Honduras); zapote bobo (Honduras)
  • French: cacaoyer rivière; châtaignier de Guyane; noisetier de la Guyane; pachirier aquatique

Local Common Names

  • Belize: Pumpunjuche; Santo Domingo; sapote bobo; Sunzapote; Zapote bobo; Zapotón
  • Benin: Noisettier de Cayenne; yovoziin
  • Brazil: árvore-do-dinheiro; cacau falso; cacau selvage; castanha do Maranhão; castanha-do-brejo; castanheira da água; Castanheiro da Guiana; castanheiro do Maranhão; castanheiro-da-Guyana; castanhola; mamorana; marmorana; monguba; munguba; paineira-de-cuba
  • China: Gua li
  • Colombia: Cacao de monte; Castaña del Chocó; ceibo de agua; ceibo de arroyo; sabanut; salero; salero ceibo; zapotolongo; Zapotón
  • Cook Islands: I‘i Papa‘ā
  • Costa Rica: Cacao cimarrón; Cacao de monte; Jelinjoche; Pumpunjuche; quiriguillo; quirihillo; quirihuillo; sabanut
  • Cuba: Carolina; carolinea; castaño silvestre; seibón de agua; seibón de arroyo
  • Dominican Republic: Cacao cimarrón; Carolina; colorado; pachira
  • Ecuador: Chorapa pulo; sapotolón; sapotolongo
  • El Salvador: Chila blanca; shila blanca
  • Gabon: Duvinda-du-mutangani; Noisetier de Cayennembénda-y'atanga; Owonntangha
  • Guatemala: Pumpunjuche; sapote bobo; Sunzapote; Zapote bobo; Zapotón
  • Haiti: Colorade; kolorad
  • Honduras: Pupunjuch; Zapotón
  • Mexico: Acamoyote; Apompo; axilochóchitl; chanacol blanco; clavellina blanca; guacta; jícara; Kuy-ché; Litskoni; ma-toz-man; Moli-tau,; palo de agua; pitón; sapote bobo; tura; ture; xcuiché; Zapote bobo; zapote de agua; zapote reventador; Zapotón
  • Nicaragua: Cacao cimarrón; cacao de playa; poponjoche; Pumpunjuche
  • Panama: sapote longo; Zapote longo
  • Peru: Bellaco; bellaco caspi; caspi; huimba; sacha pandisho
  • Puerto Rico: Ceiba de agua
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Wild chataigne; wild chestnut
  • Venezuela: Amida; Cacao cimarrón; cacao de agua; cacaquillo; castaño de agua; castaño de mono; jomo; jomo atacayo; palo de boya; tetón

EPPO code

  • PCJAQ (Pachira aquatica)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Pachira aquatica is a tree of seasonally inundated plains of Central and South America. It is often cultivated as an ornamental and has been introduced for this purpose in the USA, the Antilles, Paraguay and many Old World countries, where it is sold mostly as an indoor plant under the name “money tree”. Currently listed as invasive only in Dominican Republic and the south of Brazil, although its impact is not known (Kairo et al., 2003; Randall, 2012; Iabin, 2017). Reported as naturalized in the island of Pohnpei of the Federated States of Micronesia (Randall, 2012).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Malvales
  •                         Family: Bombacaceae
  •                             Genus: Pachira
  •                                 Species: Pachira aquatica

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Pachira aquatica was described from French Guiana by Aublet in 1775. The genus name comes from a vernacular name in Guiana (Duff, 2012). The specific epithet alludes to the preference of this species for aquatic or inundated habitats.

Pachira is the largest genus of the subfamily Bombacoideae in the Malvaceae. It comprises about 50 species, the majority of which are found in northern South America (Bayer and Kubitzky, 2003; Carvalho Sobrinho et al., 2016). As many other bombacoids, several species of Pachira have ornamental value and are often cultivated as decorative or shade trees (e.g. P. aquatica, P. glabra, P. insignis).

Many of the currently accepted species of Pachira were previously treated under the genera Bombacopsis, Pochota and Rhodognaphalopsis. Molecular evidence supports this broad conception of Pachira. However, as currently defined, the genus is paraphyletic because another neotropical genus, Eriotheca, is also embedded within the Pachira s.l. clade (Carvalho Sobrinho et al., 2016).

Description

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Pachira aquatica is an evergreen tree up to 23 m high, with spreading branches. Trunk 25-60(-90) cm in diam., unarmed, buttressed, with smooth, grayish to brownish bark. Leaves alternate, palmately-compound, essentially glabrous; stipules lanceolate, caducous; petiole 4-23 cm long, often furrowed longitudinally, dilated at both ends; leaflets 5-9, short-petiolulate, elliptic to oblong, sometimes lanceolate to slightly obovate, 5-29 × 2.5-15 cm, apiculate and often mucronulate at the apex, more or less decurrent at base, the margins entire and sometimes slightly recurved, chartaceous to coriaceous, shiny above and dull beneath. Flowers solitary or 2-3 grouped toward the end of branchlets, hermaphrodite, very large, 17-35 cm long; pedicels 1-5.5 cm long, thick, glabrous to puberulous; calyx campanulate to campanulate-tubiform, truncate, 5-apiculate or slightly undulate, 1.2-2 × 1.3-2 cm, puberulous with yellowish-brown tufted hairs outside; petals 5, linear-oblong, acute to more or less obtuse, 17-34 × 0.8-2 cm, greenish, yellowish or whitish, puberulous on both sides; stamens 200-260, monadelphous, 16-31 cm long, whitish in the lower half and crimson above, the staminal column 4.5-12 cm long, anthers 3-5.5 mm long, orange to reddish; ovary superior, 0.5-1 cm long, style filiform, 19-31 cm long, white below, reddish above, stigma 5-lobulate. Fruit a dehiscent, woody capsule, 5-valvate, subglobose to ellipsoid or oblong-ellipsoid, shallowly 5-sulcate, 12-30 × 6-10(-12) cm, the valves ca. 1 cm thick, yellowish-brown and puberulous outside, silky-villous inside. Seeds 18-27, angular, large, 2.2-6 x 2-3.2 cm, brownish, edible (Robyns, 1964).

Plant Type

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Broadleaved
Perennial
Seed propagated
Tree
Vegetatively propagated
Woody

Distribution

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Pachira aquatica is native to Central and South America, occurring from Southern Mexico to Bolivia and North Brazil. It has been introduced in the USA, the Antilles (Cuba, Jamaica, La Española, Puerto Rico, Trinidad), South Brazil and Paraguay. Also introduced and cultivated in Africa (Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Mozambique and Nigeria), Asia (China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia), Australia, and the Pacific islands (Hawaii, French Polynesia, Palau, Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Cook Islands).

This species has also been reported for the Lesser Antilles (Grisebach, 1864), but no specimens were seen by Bornstein (1989), who notes that the reports could be misidentifications of Pachira insignis.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 17 Feb 2021
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaPresentIntroducedCultivated; Original citation: Robyns (1963)
BeninPresentIntroducedCultivated
CameroonPresentIntroducedCultivated; Original citation: Robyns (1963)
GabonPresentIntroducedCultivated
MozambiquePresentIntroducedUnconfirmed naturalization
NigeriaPresentIntroducedCultivated as an ornamental

Asia

ChinaPresentIntroducedCultivated
-GuangdongPresentIntroduced
-YunnanPresentIntroduced
IndonesiaPresentIntroducedCultivated; Original citation: Robyns (1963)
-JavaPresentIntroducedCultivated; Original citation: Robyns (1963)
JapanPresentIntroducedIndoor ornamental tree
SingaporePresentIntroducedCultivated
South KoreaPresentIntroduced
TaiwanPresentIntroduced

North America

BelizePresentNative
Costa RicaPresentNative
CubaPresentIntroducedCultivated; Original citation: Robyns (1963)
Dominican RepublicPresent
El SalvadorPresentNativeOriginal citation: Robyns (1963)
GuatemalaPresent, WidespreadNativeSan Marcos, Retalhuleu, Solola, Suchitepequez, Chimaltenango, Guatemala, Escuintla, Santa Rosa, Izabal; Original citation: Robyns (1963)
HaitiPresentIntroducedCultivated
HondurasPresentNativeAtlántida, Copán; Original citation: Robyns (1963)
JamaicaPresentIntroducedCultivated; Original citation: Robyns (1963)
MexicoPresentNativeVeracruz, Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Oaxaca, Yucatán
NicaraguaPresentNativeOriginal citation: Robyns (1963)
PanamaPresentNativeBocas del Toro, Colón, Panama; Original citation: Robyns (1963)
Puerto RicoPresentIntroducedPlanted as an ornamental
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroducedCultivated; Original citation: Robyns (1963)
United StatesPresentIntroducedCultivated
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedCultivated as an ornamental
-FloridaPresentIntroducedCultivated (herbarium specimens)
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedCultivated

Oceania

AustraliaPresentPresent based on regional record.
-Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedCultivated (herbarium specimens)
-Western AustraliaPresentIntroducedCultivated (herbarium specimens)
Cook IslandsPresentIntroducedRarotonga, cultivated, not naturalized
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentIntroduced
-PohnpeiPresentIntroduced
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedMarquesas Islands (Fatu Hiva, Nuku Hiva), Society Islands (Tahiti)
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroducedRota
PalauPresentIntroducedKoror

South America

BoliviaPresentNative
BrazilPresentPresent based on regional record.
-AcrePresentNative
-AmazonasPresentNative
-BahiaPresentOriginal citation: Robyns (1963)
-CearaPresentOriginal citation: Robyns (1963)
-Distrito FederalPresentIntroducedInvasive
-GoiasPresentIntroducedIntroduced as an ornamental
-MaranhaoPresentNative
-Mato GrossoPresentOriginal citation: Robyns (1963)
-Mato Grosso do SulPresentIntroducedIntroduced as an ornamental
-ParaPresentNative
-PernambucoPresent
-Rio de JaneiroPresentOriginal citation: Robyns (1963)
-Sao PauloPresentIntroducedIntroduced as an ornamental
ColombiaPresentNativeChoco, Valle, Cauca, Nariño, Vaupés, Amazonas, Antioquia
EcuadorPresentNativeMorona-Santiago, Napo, Pastaza, Sucumbios; Original citation: Jørgensen and León-Yánez (1999)
French GuianaPresentNative
GuyanaPresentNative
ParaguayPresentIntroducedCultivated
PeruPresentNativeLoreto, Madre de Dios
SurinamePresentNative
VenezuelaPresentNative

History of Introduction and Spread

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No specific information on the history of introduction is available for this species. Earliest records for the Antilles are from Tussac (1827, as Pachira grandiflora), and Grisebach (1864) who reports it for St. Lucia and Guadeloupe. Gómez de la Maza listed the species for Cuba in 1897.

In the monograph of the genus, Robyns (1963) lists specimens from Algeria collected in 1877, and from Java (Indonesia) collected in 1922. Presumably this species was introduced in the Old World a long time ago. Nonetheless, it has not been reported as invasive or naturalized in any African or Asian country.

Risk of Introduction

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Pachira aquatica has been introduced in many tropical and subtropical countries as an ornamental tree. The risk of introduction to new areas is high since plants of this species are commonly sold in nurseries and major retailers, both in stores and online. However, the species is more often sold as an indoor potted plant and rarely escapes cultivation, having been reported as established only in three countries (Brazil, Dominican Republic, and the Federated States of Micronesia).

Habitat

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In its native range, Pachira aquatica grows in freshwater wetlands and seasonally flooded forests, along river banks, lake shores, and on the edge of mangroves and woods, always on moist ground (Robyns, 1963, 1964; Infante-Mata et al., 2011, 2014). It has been reported from sea level to 1,300 m (Duarte and Paull, 2008).

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number of Pachira aquatica has been reported as 2n=88 (Baum and Oginuma, 1994).

Reproductive Biology

P. aquatica starts producing flowers and fruits at 3-4 years old (Duarte and Paull, 2008). The buds take approximately six weeks to develop and open into flowers that are among the largest in the Bombacoideae (Hernández‐Montero and Sosa, 2015). The flowers open at dusk and last less than one day. They have a fragrant scent, especially at night, and produce copious amounts of nectar with a high sucrose content (Hernández‐Montero and Sosa, 2015). The dominant compounds in the scent are the terpenoids trans-β-ocimene, caryophyllene and linalool, the benzenoid methyl salicilate, and the fatty acid derivative cis-3-hexenil acetate (Pale-Ezquivel 2014).

The main floral visitors are bats, sphingid moths, and bees early in the morning when flowers are in their senescence. In the coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico the bat species include: Leptonycteris yerbabuenae, Artibeus jamaicensis, A. lituratus, A. phaeotis, Anoura geoffroyi, Glossophaga soricina, Chiroderma salvini, Sturnira parvidens, and Carollia sowelli (Hernández‐Montero and Sosa, 2015). The bats feed mainly on pollen and, to a lesser extent, on nectar. L. yerbabuenae is probably the most effective pollinator due to its higher pollen loads. The moths feed exclusively on nectar and include: Manduca rustica, Cocytius duponchel and Eumorpha satellitia. In addition to bees, butterflies and beetles also visit the flowers during the day (Hernández‐Montero and Sosa, 2015).

Hand-pollination experiments showed that this species sets fruits predominantly by outcrossing, indicating a self-incompatible mating system. Autogamous and geitonogamous fruits abort during the first month of development (Hernández‐Montero and Sosa, 2015).

Fruits mature in 4-5 months (Duarte and Paull, 2008; Hernández‐Montero and Sosa, 2015). They have been observed to fall during the dry and early rainy seasons, either on firm soil under the tree canopy or in water (Infante Mata and Moreno-Casasola, 2005). The seeds disperse by water (see natural dispersal). They are recalcitrant and start germinating after 6-8 days (Infante Mata and Moreno-Casasola, 2005; Duarte and Paull, 2008). Germination is faster in medium and low moisture substrates regardless of light intensity (shade of forest canopy vs. direct sunlight). After 15 days, germination was 60% for medium moisture, and over 40% for low moisture versus 0% for high moisture. The 80% germination was reached at approx. 45 days by seeds in medium and low moisture, and at 60 days by seeds in high moisture (Infante Mata and Moreno-Casasola, 2005).

Germination also appears to be significantly influenced by the type of seed “storage”. Seeds buried in wetland soil died, regardless of the time spent underground, possibly due to the lack of enough oxygen. In contrast, 90% of seeds stored floating in water, even for a period of 90 days, germinated (Infante Mata and Moreno-Casasola, 2005). Seedlings grow very rapidly, attaining 60 cm in 2 months (Duarte and Paull, 2008).

In addition to seeds, P. aquatica can also be propagated by hardwood cuttings.

Physiology and Phenology

P. aquatica flowers and fruits more or less throughout the year (Duarte and Paull, 2008). In Mexico, the flowering period extends from December to August, with a peak in May, during which the trees produce an average of ca. 200 flowers. Approximately 17% of flowers become fruits (Hernández‐Montero and Sosa, 2015).

Maximum fruiting occurs at the end of the dry season (March and April) and the start of the rains (September through December) (Duarte and Paull, 2008).

When grown indoors, and under low light conditions, P. aquatica may experience leaf abscission and accelerated internode elongation (Li et al., 2009). The interior performance, however, can be improved by producing plants in a shaded greenhouse under low light intensities (photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) in the range 285-350 µmol·m⁻²·s⁻¹), and with foliar spraying of paclobutrazol, which reduces internode elongation and also leaf drop (Li et al., 2009).

Longevity

P. aquatica is a perennial plant.

Population Size and Structure

P. aquatica is one of the dominant trees of the flooded forests in the coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico (Infante-Mata et al., 2011).

Associations

In the freshwater forested wetlands of the coastal plain of the Gulf of Mexico, P. aquatica can be found in association with Annona glabra, Diospyros digyna, Ficus insipida subsp. insipida, Dalbergia brownei and Hippocratea celastroides [Pristimera celastroides] (Infante-Mata et al., 2011). In sites with higher salinity due to a stronger influence of seawater, P. aquatica can be found together with the mangrove species Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans and Laguncularia racemosa (Infante-Mata et al., 2014).

Environmental Requirements

P. aquatica is a very resilient and adaptable species. It grows in moist, tropical, frost-free areas with average temperatures of 24°C, but can endure brief exposure to -2°C (Duarte and Paull, 2008). It can grow well in full sun or partial shade, and can even tolerate indoor low light conditions, although leaf abscission and rapid internode elongation may occur (Li et al., 2009).

It is very adaptable to different soil types and resists both drought and flooding. It tolerates a wide range of water salinity (superficial, interstitial and underground), which allows it to establish in water bodies with mixohaline (30-0.5 PSU), oligohaline (0.5-5 PSU) and freshwater conditions (<0.5 PSU) (Infante-Mata et al., 2014).

The average annual precipitation ranges between 1000 and 2000 mm (Duarte and Paull, 2008).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Af - Tropical rainforest climate Preferred > 60mm precipitation per month
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
35 25

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Absolute minimum temperature (ºC) -2
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 8 30

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall10002000mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Bimodal
Summer
Uniform
Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free
  • impeded
  • seasonally waterlogged

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Special soil tolerances

  • saline

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Colletotrichum Pathogen not specific
Curvularia Pathogen Plants|Leaves not specific
Globisporangium splendens Pathogen Plants|Roots; Plants|Stems not specific
Phellinus noxius Pathogen Plants|Roots; Plants|Stems not specific
Phomopsis Pathogen not specific
Phytophthora palmivora Pathogen Plants|Leaves not specific

Notes on Natural Enemies

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The following fungal pathogens have been reported on P. aquatica: Cercospora pachirae [Pseudocercospora pachirae] (Muchovej and Ferreira, 1991), Phytophthora palmivora (Palmateer et al., 2012), Pythium splendens [Globisporangium splendens] (Tojo et al., 2004), Phellinus noxius (Sahashi et al., 2015), Colletotrichum sp., Curvularia sp., Phomopsis sp. and Phaeoramularia sp. (Farr and Rossman, 2017).

Insects attacking this species include: Phelypera schuppeli (Diniz and Morais, 1996; Vanin et al., 2012), Myllocerus undecimpustulatus undatus (O'Brien et al., 2006) and Loncophorus varius (Clarke, 1988).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Natural Dispersal

In its natural habitat, Pachira aquatica disperses by seeds that are transported by water. They have great long-term buoyancy, which is attained by the aerenchymatous tissue in the cotyledons (Infante-Mata et al., 2014). In a study of seed flotation of seasonally flooded forest species in Panama, the seeds of this species were among the best floaters with a 95% remaining buoyant after 60 days in water (Lopez, 2001).

Vector Transmission (Biotic)

The international trade of P. aquatica may contribute to the movement of insects. Lee et al. (2002) reported the occurrence of Oligotoma saundersii, a webspinner new to South Korea, on plants of P. aquatica growing in a greenhouse in Seoul. P. aquatica is imported to Korea from Southeast Asia including Taiwan (Lee et al., 2002).

Intentional Introduction

P. aquatica has been intentionally introduced in many countries as an ornamental tree.

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Botanical gardens and zoosCultivated in Botanical Gardens Yes Yes Missouri Botanical Garden (2017)
HorticultureCultivated as an outdoor and indoor plant Yes Yes Duff (2012)
Internet salesPotted plants and seeds are sold online Yes Yes
Landscape improvementGrown as a landscape tree for its dense and spreading canopy Yes Yes Wong (2006)
Nursery tradePropagated and sold in nurseries and exported Yes Yes Duff (2012); Lee et al. (2002)
Ornamental purposesCultivated and introduced as an ornamental in many Old World (and some New World) countries Yes Yes Robyns (1963); Duff (2012)
Seed tradeSeeds are sold online Yes Yes

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Floating vegetation and debrisFloating seeds disperse by water Yes Yes Lopez (2001); Infante-Mata et al. (2014)
WaterSeeds disperse by water Yes Yes Lopez (2001); Infante-Mata et al. (2014)

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Environment (generally) Positive

Environmental Impact

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Impact on Habitats

Pachira aquatica has been reported as invasive in Dominican Republic and Southern Brazil, but the impact on habitats in these countries is not known. According to Infante-Mata et al. (2014), P. aquatica can be considered as a competitive species of floodplains due to its dispersal capacity, its rapid growth and its tolerance to a wide range of water salinity.

Risk and Impact Factors

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Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Long lived
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Reproduces asexually
Impact mechanisms
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately

Uses

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Economic Value

Pachira aquatica is cultivated as a shade tree for its dense canopy and its large flowers (Robyns, 1963), but also as an indoor foliage plant (Li et al., 2009). Potted plants grown as bonsai or with the stems braided are popular in the USA and in many Asian countries where they are believed to bring good luck and financial prosperity (Tang et al., 2007; Li et al., 2009). These plants are often sold under the name “money tree” and can be found in nurseries, major retailers and on gardening websites. In Taiwan, the commercial production of this species plays an important role in the agricultural export economy of the country. In 2005, the exports reached 1,800 containers with a value of NT $250 million equivalent to US $7 million (Taiwan Headlines, 2006).

The seeds can be eaten raw, roasted, fried or boiled. They are described as being delicious, with a flavour similar to peanut or to the European chestnut (Duarte and Paull, 2008; Lim 2012). The roasted seeds can also be ground into a flour to make bread (Lim, 2012), or to make a drink similar to hot chocolate (Duarte and Paull, 2008). Studies on their nutritional composition reveal a high content of protein and oil. The crude protein content is 129 g kg־¹ dry matter, which is comparable to that of wheat and corn. The oil content is 539 g kg־¹ dry matter, higher than soybean and comparable to peanut, castor bean and sunflower (Oliveira et al., 2000). They also have a higher content of the essential amino acids tryptophan, threonine and phenylalanine + tyrosine than that reported for chicken eggs, human milk and cow’s milk (Oliveira et al., 2000). Nonetheless, several toxic compounds have also been found in the seeds including lectins and trypsin inhibitors. Feeding trials with rats revealed a high toxicity of the seed meal which led to the death of five of the six rats studied within 6-8 days. The surviving rat showed marked hypertrophy of most internal organs, especially of the pancreas and kidneys (Oliveira et al., 2000).

The young leaves and flowers can also be cooked and consumed as a vegetable (Lorenzi, 1992; Duarte and Paull, 2008). The bark can be used to make rope and extracting a red dye. The soft wood provides paper pulp (Duarte and Paull, 2008).

Social Benefit

The leaves and fruits are used in South America as natural remedy to treat several illnesses. The boiled leaves are used for fever and headaches. The fruits are employed for respiratory diseases (Roth and Lindorf, 2002).

Environmental Services

P. aquatica can be used as biofilter to remove volatile organic compounds (VOC) in an indoor space. The plants are very effective in reducing the concentrations of benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene, especially when placed in a sunny area (Song et al., 2007).

Uses List

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Environmental

  • Landscape improvement
  • Revegetation

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo

Human food and beverage

  • Beverage base
  • Emergency (famine) food
  • Flour/starch
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Vegetable

Materials

  • Bark products
  • Dyestuffs
  • Wood/timber

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Potted plant
  • Seed trade

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Pachira aquatica is most closely related to Pachira insignis and Pachira glabra, but the three species can be distinguished by the colour of the flower. P. insignis has orange, dark red or brownish petals, whereas P. glabra has whitish or greenish petals and entirely white stamens (versus bicoloured in P. aquatica).

P. aquatica might also be confused with Pseudobombax ellipticum (the ‘shaving brush tree’ or ‘Carolina’), another commonly cultivated bombacoid with brush-type flowers of numerous stamens, but P. ellipticum differs in being a deciduous tree, with smaller, entirely pink or white flowers that have distinctly coiled, reflexed petals and many more (>300) stamens.

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Ecosystem Restoration

This species has been proposed for wetland and mangrove restoration (Infante-Mata et al., 2014).

References

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Adjakidjè, V. , 2006. Bombacaceae. In: Flore analytique du Bénin, [ed. by Akoègninou, A. , Van der Burg, W. J., Van der Maesen, L. J. G.]. Leiden, The Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers. 430-434.

Alverson, W. S. , Dorr, L. J., Steyermark, J. A., 2007. Bombacaceae. In: Checklist of the Plants of the Guiana Shield (Venezuela: Amazonas, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro; Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana). Contributions from the United States National Herbarium,(55) [ed. by Funk, V. , Hollowell, T. , Berry, P., Kelloff, C. , Alexander, S. N.]. 220-223.

Alverson, W. S., 2014. Malvaceae. In: Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares de Bolivia. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden, [ed. by Jørgensen, P. M. , Nee, M. H., Beck, S. G.]. St. Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden Press. 786-819.

AVH, 2017. The Australasian Virtual Herbarium. Pachira aquatica. http://avh.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?taxa=Pachira+aquatica#tab_recordsView

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Chong, K. Y., Tan, H. T. W., Corlett, R. T., 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species, Singapore: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore.273 pp. https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/app/uploads/2017/04/flora_of_singapore_tc.pdf

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Fernández-Alonso, J. R., Dorr, L., Idárraga, Á., Merello, M., Liesner, R., 2011. Malvaceae. In: Listado de las Plantas Vasculares del Departamento de Antioquia. Flora de Antioquia, Vol. 2, [ed. by Idárraga-Piedrahita, A. , Ortiz, R. D. C., Callejas Posada, R., Merello, M.]. Medellín, Colombia, Colombia: Universidad de Antioquia. 577-594.

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Infante-Mata, D., Moreno-Casasola, P., Madero-Vega, C., 2014. Pachira aquatica, as indicator of mangrove limit?. (¿Pachira aquatica, un indicador del límite del manglar?). Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad, 85(1), 143-160. http://www.ib.unam.mx/revista/

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Lawal, O. A., Ogunwande, I. A., Opoku, A. R., 2015. Volatile constituents from the leaves of Pachira aquatica Aubl grown in Nigeria. International Research Journal of Pure and Applied Chemistry, 7(2), 49-53. http://sciencedomain.org/abstract/8349 doi: 10.9734/IRJPAC/2015/16319

Lee, S. , Han, M. J., Woo, K. S., 2002. New record of web-spinner, Oligotoma saundersii (Embiidina), Oligotomidae) in Korea. The Korean Journal of Systematic Zoology, 18(1), 121-125.

Li, Q. S., Deng, M., Chen, J. J., Henny, R. J., 2009. Effects of light intensity and paclobutrazol on growth and interior performance of Pachira aquatica Aubl. HortScience, 44(5), 1291-1295. http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/

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Lopez, O. R., 2001. Seed flotation and postflooding germination in tropical terra firme and seasonally flooded forest species. Functional Ecology, 15(6), 763-771. doi: 10.1046/j.0269-8463.2001.00586.x

Lorenzi, H., 1992. Ârvores Brasileiras: manual de identificação e cultivo de plantas arbóreas nativas do Brasil, Nova Odessa, Brazil: Editora Plantarum.352 pp.

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Oliveira, J. T. A., Vasconcelos, I. M., Bezerra, L. C. N. M., Silveira, S. B., Monteiro, A. C. O., Moreira, R. A., 2000. Composition and nutritional properties of seeds from Pachira aquatica Aubl, Sterculia striata St Hil et Naud and Terminalia catappa Linn. Food Chemistry, 70(2), 185-191. doi: 10.1016/S0308-8146(00)00076-5

Pale-Ezquivel, I. J., 2014. (Caracterización química de los compuestos volátiles emitidos por Pachira aquatica mediante headspace dinámica y cromatografía de gases acoplada a espectrometría de masas (GC-MS)). Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico: Facultad de Química Farmacéutica Biológica, Universidad Veracruzana.

Palmateer, A. J., Cating, R. A., Lopez, P., Maguire, I., 2012. First report of Phytophthora palmivora causing foliar blight of Pachira aquatica in Florida. Plant Disease, 96(9), 1375. http://apsjournals.apsnet.org/loi/pdis doi: 10.1094/PDIS-02-12-0215-PDN

Paraguay Checklist, 2017. Paraguay Checklist, Tropicos website. In: Paraguay Checklist, Tropicos website St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden.http://tropicos.org/Project/Paraguay

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Robyns, A. , 1964. Flora of Panama. Part IV. Bombacaceae. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 51, 37-68.

ROBYNS, A., 1963. A monographic study of the genus Bombax s.l. (Bombacaceae). (Essai de monographie du genre Bombax s.l. (Bombacaceae)). Bull. Jard. bot. Etat Brux, 33, 1-144.

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Sahashi, N., Akiba, M., Ota, Y., Masuya, H., Hattori, T., Mukai, A., Shimada, R., Ono, T., Sato, T., 2015. Brown root rot caused by Phellinus noxius in the Ogasawara (Bonin) islands, southern Japan - current status of the disease and its host plants. Australasian Plant Disease Notes, 10(1), 33. http://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13314-015-0183-0/fulltext.html doi: 10.1007/s13314-015-0183-0

Shibatani, M., Hashidoko, Y., Tahara, S., 1999. A major fungitoxin from Pachira aquatica and its accumulation in outer bark. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 25(2), 347-353. doi: 10.1023/A:1020803031005

Song, J. E. , Kim, Y. S., Sohn, J. Y. , 2007. The impact of plants on the reduction of volatile organic compounds in a small space. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 26, 599-603.

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Tang, Y. , Gilbert, M. G., Dorr, L. J., 2007. Bombacaceae. In: Flora of China, Vol. 12. , [ed. by Wu, Z. Y. , Raven, P. H., Hong, D. Y.]. St. Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden Press. 299-301.

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Tojo, M., Kuroda, K., Suzuki, H., 2004. First report of stem rot of Guiana chestnut (Pachira aquatica) caused by Pythium splendens. Plant Disease, 88(1), 84. doi: 10.1094/PDIS.2004.88.1.84A

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Wong, M., 2006. Edible Plants for Hawai'i Landscapes. Honolulu, USA: University of Hawaii at Manoa (CTAHR).13 pp.

Distribution References

Adjakidjè V, 2006. Bombacaceae. In: Flore analytique du Bénin. [ed. by Akoègninou A, Van der Burg W J, Van der Maesen L J G]. Leiden, The Netherlands: Backhuys Publishers. 430-434.

Alverson W S, 2014. Malvaceae. In: Catálogo de las Plantas Vasculares de Bolivia. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden. [ed. by Jørgensen P M, Nee M H, Beck S G]. St. Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden Press. 786-819.

Alverson W S, Dorr L J, Steyermark J A, 2007. Bombacaceae. In: Checklist of the Plants of the Guiana Shield (Venezuela: Amazonas, Bolivar, Delta Amacuro; Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana). Contributions from the United States National Herbarium. [ed. by Funk V, Hollowell T, Berry P, Kelloff C, Alexander S N]. 220-223.

AVH, 2017. The Australasian Virtual Herbarium. Pachira aquatica. http://avh.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?taxa=Pachira+aquatica#tab_recordsView

Brako L, Zarucchi J L, 1993. Catalogue of the flowering plants and gymnosperms of Peru. 1286 pp.

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated b. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Chong K Y, Tan H T W, Corlett R T, 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Singapore: Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp. https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/app/uploads/2017/04/flora_of_singapore_tc.pdf

Duarte M C, 2015. Pachira. In: Lista de Espécies da Flora do Brasil. Brazil: Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro. http://floradobrasil.jbrj.gov.br/jabot/floradobrasil/FB23585

Fernández-Alonso J R, Dorr L, Idárraga Á, Merello M, Liesner R, 2011. Malvaceae. In: Listado de las Plantas Vasculares del Departamento de Antioquia. Flora de Antioquia, Vol. 2. [ed. by Idárraga-Piedrahita A, Ortiz R D C, Callejas Posada R, Merello M]. Medellín, Colombia, Colombia: Universidad de Antioquia. 577-594.

Flora Mesoamericana, 2017. Flora Mesoamericana. (Flora Mesoamericana.). In: Flora Mesoamericana. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://www.tropicos.org/Project/fm

Flore du Gabon, 2017. EDIT Platform for Cybertaxonony. http://portal.cybertaxonomy.org/flore-gabon/cdm_dataportal/taxon/c322b493-b414-4b38-9fa0-e937546cfd83

Florence J, 2004. (Flore de la Polynésie française, Vol. 2. Collection Faune et Flore Tropicales 41)., Paris, France: IRD Editions, Publications Scientifiques du Múseum. 503 pp.

Fosberg F R, Sachet M H, Oliver R, 1979. A geographical checklist of the Micronesian dicotyledonae. Micronesica. 1-295.

Iabin, 2017. I3N Brazil Invasive Alien Species Database., Florianopolis, Brazil: The Horus Institute for Environmental Conservation and Development. http://i3n.institutohorus.org.br/www/?p=NzsycXE5ZDU4N2orJ0BbEUBSA1ZVBRcYShxeOTUwJmdnYQ%3D%3D

Lawal O A, Ogunwande I A, Opoku A R, 2015. Volatile constituents from the leaves of Pachira aquatica Aubl grown in Nigeria. International Research Journal of Pure and Applied Chemistry. 7 (2), 49-53. DOI:10.9734/IRJPAC/2015/16319

Lee S, Han M J, Woo K S, 2002. New record of web-spinner, Oligotoma saundersii (Embiidina), Oligotomidae) in Korea. The Korean Journal of Systematic Zoology. 18 (1), 121-125.

Li Q S, Deng M, Chen J J, Henny R J, 2009. Effects of light intensity and paclobutrazol on growth and interior performance of Pachira aquatica Aubl. HortScience. 44 (5), 1291-1295. http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/

Liogier A H, 1982. (La Flora de la Española, I.)., San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic: Universidad Central del Este. 317 pp.

McCormack G, 2007. Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007.2. In: Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007.2, Rarotonga: Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust. http://cookislands.bishopmuseum.org

Palmateer A J, Cating R A, Lopez P, Maguire I, 2012. First report of Phytophthora palmivora causing foliar blight of Pachira aquatica in Florida. Plant Disease. 96 (9), 1375. http://apsjournals.apsnet.org/loi/pdis DOI:10.1094/PDIS-02-12-0215-PDN

Paraguay Checklist, 2017. Paraguay Checklist, Tropicos website. In: Paraguay Checklist, Tropicos website. St. Louis, Missouri, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden. http://tropicos.org/Project/Paraguay

Randall R P, 2012. A global compendium of weeds. [ed. by Randall R P]. Perth, Australia: Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia. 1124 pp. http://www.agric.wa.gov.au

Sahashi N, Akiba M, Ota Y, Masuya H, Hattori T, Mukai A, Shimada R, Ono T, Sato T, 2015. Brown root rot caused by Phellinus noxius in the Ogasawara (Bonin) islands, southern Japan - current status of the disease and its host plants. Australasian Plant Disease Notes. 10 (1), 33. DOI:10.1007/s13314-015-0183-0

Shibatani M, Hashidoko Y, Tahara S, 1999. A major fungitoxin from Pachira aquatica and its accumulation in outer bark. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 25 (2), 347-353. DOI:10.1023/A:1020803031005

Tang Y, Gilbert M G, Dorr L J, 2007. Bombacaceae. In: Flora of China, Vol. 12. [ed. by Wu Z Y, Raven P H, Hong D Y]. St. Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden Press. 299-301.

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Contributors

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12/03/18 Original text by:

Dr. Fabiola Areces-Berazain, Herbarium UPRRP, University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras, San Juan, Puerto Rico

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