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Cashew
Anacardiaceae
Anacardium occidentale


Thunder
Thunder
Flower Petal # 5
Main Color    
Color 2    
Type Categories Useful Parts

Tree




Anacardiaceae Family

Anacardium Genus
Other Names for this Plant

cajueiro, cashu, casho, acajuiba, caju, acajou, acaju, acajaiba, alcayoiba, anacarde, anacardier, anacardo, Andi parippu (in Malayalam), cacajuil, cajou, gajus, godambi (in Kannada), jeedi pappu (in Telugu), jocote maranon, maranon, merey, Mundhiri paruppu (Tamil), noix d’acajou, pomme cajou, pomme, jambu, jambu golok, jambu mete, jambu monyet, jambu terong, kasoy (Tagalog), and hạt điều in Vietnamese language.


Location

Native to northeastern Brazil. Now widely grown in Tropical climates. Collectively, Vietnam, Nigeria, India and Brazil account for more than 90% of all cashew kernel exports

Physical Description
It is a small evergreen tree growing to 10-12m (~32 ft) tall, with a short, often irregularly-shaped trunk. The leaves are spirally arranged, leathery textured, elliptic to obovate, 4 to 22 cm long and 2 to 15 cm broad, with a smooth margin. The flowers are produced in a panicle or corymb up to 26 cm long, each flower small, pale green at first then turning reddish, with five slender, acute petals 7 to 15 mm long.

What appears to be the fruit of the cashew tree is an oval or pear-shaped accessory fruit or false fruit that develops from the receptacle of the cashew flower. Called the cashew apple, better known in Central America as "marañón", it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure about 5–11 cm long. It is edible, and has a strong "sweet" smell and a sweet taste. The pulp of the cashew apple is very juicy, but the skin is fragile, making it unsuitable for transport. It is often used as a flavor in agua fresca.

The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe that grows at the end of the pseudofruit. Actually, the drupe develops first on the tree, and then the peduncle expands into the pseudofruit. Within the true fruit is a single seed, the cashew nut. Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the fruit of the cashew is a seed. The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing a dermatogenic phenolic resin, urushiol, a potent skin irritant toxin also found in the related poison ivy. Some people are allergic to cashew nuts, but cashews are a less frequent allergen than nuts or peanuts.




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Anacardiaceae
Sapindales
Sapindales
Soapberry Order
Eumalvids
Real Mallows
Malvidae
Mallow Class
Eurosids
Real Rose Class
Rosids
Rosids
Rose-Like Class
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

It was brought to India and East Africa during the 1400s by Portuguese missionaries.

Medicinal Uses: The cashew nutshell liquid (CNSL), a by-product of processing cashew, is mostly composed of anacardic acids. These acids have been used effectively in vivo against tooth abcesses due to their lethality to gram positive bacteria. They are also active against a wide range of other gram-positive bacteria. Many parts of the plant are used by the Patamona of Gyana medicinally. The bark is scraped and soaked overnight or boiled as an antidiarrheal. Seeds are ground up into powders used for antivenom for snake bites. The nut oil is used topically as an antifungal and for healing cracked heels

Cashew contains healthy monounsaturated fat that promotes good cardiovascular health, because monounsaturated fats reduce high triglyceride levels which are associated with increased risk for heart disease

Cashew nut consumption helps the body utilize iron, eliminate free radicals, develop bone and connective tissue, and produce the skin and hair pigment melanin.

Decoction of bark for diabetes, diarrhea, and mouth ulcers. Decoction of leaf and root for tooth ache and washing the eyes. Young leaves eaten as ulam, but older ones and fruit poisonous unless cooked.

Food Uses: The cashew is a popular snack, and its rich flavor means that it is often eaten on its own, lightly salted or sugared. Cashews are sold covered in chocolate, but due to their higher price compared to peanuts and almonds are not as common in candy, except from higher quality manufacturers. Cashews also factor in Thai cuisine and Chinese cuisine generally in whole form, and in Indian cuisine often ground into sauces such as shahi korma. The cashew can also be used in cheese alternatives for vegans, typically in homemade cheese recipes.

In Brazil, the cashew fruit juice is popular all across the country and is usually consumed with sugar.

Cultivation: Cashew's generally prefer ample water, but too much rainfall and or very high humidity may retard growth, trees seem to do better in slightly drier tropical climates. They are quite drought tolerant

Propagation: By hardwood cuttings at the end of the growing season.





Cashew
Koehlers Medicinal-Plants 1887 [Image in Public Domain]

Comment: Cashew, Anacardium occidentale

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