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Pachira glabra - Pasq.

Common Name Saba Nut, American Chestnut
Family Malvaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Alluvial plains and lowland rainforest[307 ]. Not very common in the wild, it is found mainly in secondary formations in alluvial lowlands and near the base of hillsides, being rare in dense, primary forest[419 ].
Range S. America - southern, central and eastern Brazil.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Pachira glabra Saba Nut, American Chestnut

wikimedia.org / Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz
Pachira glabra Saba Nut, American Chestnut


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Pachira glabra is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 15 m (49ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Bombacopsis glabra (Pasq.) A.Robyns Bombax glabrum (Pasq.) A.Robyns Bombax kimuenzae De Wild. & T.Durand Bombax oleagineum A.Robyns Pochota glabra (Pasq.) Bullock


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Oil

Seed - raw or cooked[307 ]. The seeds can be boiled or roasted like chestnuts[307 , 419 ]. Rich in oil[332 ]. Similar to groundnuts in flavour[332 ]. The young leaves are said to be eaten[332 ]. Also, known as Pachira nut.

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Containers  Hedge  Oil  Wood

Agroforestry Uses: The plant is easily reproduced from cuttings and so is widely used as a hedge in coastal regions of Brazil[419 ]. It is sometimes grown to provide shade in cocoa plantations[419 ]. Other Uses: The wood is very light in weight, soft, with loose tissue and of low natural durability. It is sometimes used for making light objects such as boxes, rulers and toys[419 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest  Hedge

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Staple Crop: Protein-oil

Prefers a deep, fertile loamy soil in full sun or light shade[200 , 307 ]. A fast-growing tree, it can reach a height of 3.5 metres within 2 years from seed[419 ]. It is very adaptable to different soil types, grows well in full sun or partial shade, and is resistant to both drought and flooding. Trees begin to fruit at about 4-5 years, a mature tree producing from 50-80 fruits per year.

Carbon Farming

  • Staple Crop: Protein-oil  (16+ percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Annuals include soybeans, peanuts, sunflower seeds. Perennials include seeds, beans, nuts, and fruits such as almond, Brazil nut, pistachio, walnut, hazel, and safou.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in individual containers. A germination rate of virtually 100% can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 5 - 10 days[419 ]. The seedlings develop quickly and should be ready to plant out 3 - 4 months later[419 ]. Cuttings root easily[419 ]. Layering

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Pachira nut. Amendoim-de-arvore, American chestnut, Cacau-do-maranhao, Cacau-selvagem, Castanha-da-praia, Castanha-do-maranhao, Mamorana, Malabar Chestnut, Saba Nut, Provision Tree, Guiana Chestnut, Guyana Chestnut, Monguba, Munguba, Pumpo, Money Tree [1-4].

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Australia, Brazil (native), Central Africa, Central America, Congo, Guianas, Mexico, Nigeria, North America, Puerto Rico, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South America, St Lucia, West Africa [1-4].

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Pachira insignisMalabar ChestnutTree15.0 10-12 FMHSNM402

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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