Anacardiaceae occidentale

Theresa Elder 04/17/13

Anacardiaceae occidentale

Related to American poison ivy and poison sumac as well as mango and pistachio

Anacardium “upward heart” refers to fruit

Other names Tupi acaju and Portuguese caju, marañon in Spanish


Large evergreen tree 10-14m tall irregular shaped trunk

Flowers are in a panicle up to 26cm long, there are 5 acute slender petals mixed male, female, and both male and female

The actual fruit is the nut or drupe cashew seed, surrounded by a double shell, green turns red

Between shells is oil chemically related to urushiol

A second false fruit, pseudocarp, known as the cashew apple is developed from the swollen stem; yellow, orange or red 5-11cm long

The cashew apple is edible

Geography of Cultivation

Native to Northeast Brazil

16th century Portuguese traders introduced to Goa, India as soil retainer

Spread to NE Asia, Africa, and near by islands

Also grown in coastal US states

Some areas cultivate apple while others

Features of cultivation

Grown in subtropical and tropical climates

Tolerates poor soil, drought, and salt air

Prefers high humidity

3 years from planting to cultivation

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