The money tree, also called pachira or Malabar chestnut, grow into large trees in tropical and subtropical regions but, for home use, are frequently grown in pots and sold as small bonsai trees. Its braided trunk and five-lobed leaves give the money tree its distinctive look. Not surprisingly, given the name, the money tree is associated with wealth and prosperity.
Legend of the Money Tree
Legend holds that a poor Taiwanese farmer first discovered the money tree growing in his field. Because of the plant's distinctive and attractive appearance, he took it as a sign, carefully uprooted it and took it home.
The farmer discovered that the plant he'd found required very little care and decided to save the seeds. He planted more money trees and sold them at the market to an enthusiastic response from his customers. Therefore, as he'd predicted when he first found an odd little plant growing in his field one day, the money tree brought the farmer his longed-for prosperity.
Shape of the Trunk
Money tree plants consist of multiple trunks that twist into a braid or a cage shape, and one theory as to the tree's meaning derives from this distinctive form. The five-lobed leaves resemble the fingers of a hand, which are said to gather money. When the pale-colored trunks form a cage, the trunk represents a golden cage into which the hands place and secure money.
The Number Five
Because money trees often have five trunks per plant, five leaves per trunk and five lobes upon each leaf, the number five suggests another theory about the meaning of the money tree. In Feng Shui, the ancient Asian art of arranging objects to generate a positive outcome, there are five elements--metal, wood, water, fire and earth--and the pattern of five is said to represent those elements, making the money tree a powerful addition to Feng Shui arrangements.
Money Trees and Feng Shui
According to the principles of Feng Shui, money trees can bring prosperity into a home or business. AstroStar identifies the southeast corner of the house as important to wealth and prosperity, positively affecting both the flow of money and the belief in your ability to make money. They recommend placing a money tree in the southeast corner of your home to attract wealth.
Money Trees as Gifts
Given the ease of caring for a money tree, as well as its special significance, money trees make popular gifts. Money trees are recommended as gifts for occasions where prosperity and luck are desired, such as a housewarming or a business grand opening.