Money tree plants are a specific variety of bonsai trees. The species that is used to produce money tree plants is the Pachira aquatica, which originally comes from South America's swamplands. The design of the money tree plants originated in Taiwan during the 1980s and is also popular in other Asian countries.
Money tree plants are often linked with China, because they were created in Taiwan. The plants are thought to encourage fortune and good luck. In China, the plants are often available during the Chinese New Year festivities alongside several luck-oriented decorations and red banners.
The Pachira aquatica is a tree from the tropical wetlands of South and Central America. It is classified as a lucky plant by devotees of the ancient Chinese discipline of feng shui because of its five palmate and lobed leaves.
The money tree plant's leaves, nuts and flowers are edible. The nuts are pale brown with white stripes and taste similar to peanuts. They can be eaten either cooked or raw, or used to make flour for bread. The leaves of the plant appear on woody pods.
If money tree plants are probably cared for and maintained, they can grow to be more than 6 feet in height. For money tree plants, low light is preferable. Between waterings, money tree plants should be dried out. They can be grown in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) plant hardiness zones 10 and 11, and can be cultivated indoors. Abundant sunlight is beneficial, although during the summertime direct sunlight should be avoided, because it could lead to sunburn of the leaves.
Pachira aquatica is extracted from a language that is used in Guyana, a South American nation. The species' name comes from the Latin word for "aquatic." The name "money tree plant" comes from a story in which an impoverished man prayed for money, then randomly found the Pachira aquatica, brought it back to his house as an omen and earned money by selling the plants.