Pachira is a genus of tropical trees distributed in Central and South America, Africa and India. They are classified in the subfamilyBombacoideae of the family Malvaceae.
In East Asia, Pachira aquatica (Chinese: 馬拉巴栗; pinyin: Mǎlābā lì; literally: “Malabar chestnut”) is often referred to as the “money tree” (發財樹 fācái shù). The tree had long been popular as an ornamental in Japan. In 1986, a Taiwanese truck driver first cultivated five small trees in a single flowerpot with their trunks braided. The popularity of these ornamentals took off in Japan and later much of the rest of East Asia. They are symbolically associated with good financial fortune and are typically seen in businesses, sometimes with red ribbons or other auspicious ornamentation attached.