Growing up, you might have heard the phrase “Money doesn’t grow on trees”, which is what parents say to discourage their kids from wasteful spending. But in some parts of the world, a money tree holds a much deeper historical meaning, often related to good fortune and wealth.
Generally, when people refer to a “Money Tree”, they are referring to the species Pachira Aquatica. The most recognizable image of a Money Tree is actually a number of Pachira Aquatica trees entwined together, giving a unique braided look. Though the cultural history of the money tree goes back thousands of years, the origin of this braided variant is surprisingly recent. The tree was first cultivated by a Taiwanese truck driver in the 1980s. He braided five trees together and grew them in a small flowerpot, and people seemed to really enjoy the unique look. The idea really took off and now you can find this popular tree everywhere.
People around the world enjoy this unique tree for a number of reasons. Its appealing braided trunk is said to trap fortune, and the five large leaves on each trunk represent metal, wind, water, earth, and fire. The combination of features makes the tree very popular with practitioners of Feng Shui, as placing the tree properly is believed to foster luck and prosperity, especially in a place of work. But you need to be careful because overuse or improper placement can actually have the opposite effect and ruin your luck! Giving a Money Tree is a popular gift, especially for a business, as it will help promote luck and success in all your endeavors.
There is a deep cultural symbolism related to the Money Tree, though it does not refer to the variety of trees now available. Some of the earliest instances of a Money Tree date back to the Han Dynasty in China, and were often not real organic trees at all, but rather a bronze sculpture of a tree. These sculptures were hung with coins and placed in the tomb of an affluent individual so that their soul would enjoy wealth in the afterlife.
There are a number of stories related to the ancient legend of the money tree, but keep in mind these stories are from long before the creation of the braided Pachira Aquatica. One common story is about a greedy merchant who found an interesting tree he wanted to harvest. He didn’t have the tools to cut the tree down himself but thought he could trick the local villagers into doing it for him. The merchant hung coins from the branches of the tree, assuming that the villagers would see them and chop the tree down to claim them. But later he finds that the villagers have added more coins of their own, thinking that the tree is a good omen. The clever and cruel merchant twisted the situation to his advantage, threatening to cut down the tree himself unless the villagers paid him tribute. Apparently, the villagers complied, unfortunately rewarding the merchant’s ill deeds.
Another story is about a successful farmer who had a tree with arms and legs. The tree would work the fields each day, bringing the farmer great wealth. The farmer’s greedy brother and stepmother grew jealous and stole the tree, expecting it to work for them in the same way. However, the tree did not move. The farmer confronted them and told them the truth: the tree’s arms and legs were his own, and his success was actually just due to his own hard work. His family was shamed by the revelation, and decided to put in hard work themselves and create their own “Money Tree”.
Check out the new Money Tree set exclusive to JMBricklayer! Place it carefully to encourage your own fortune and prosperity, and maybe, if you’re lucky, you will find that money actually does grow on trees!
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