Anacardium occidentale

Cashew tree

 

Fruit tree who bears edible fruits ans edible seeds

                                                                               

 

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Family

 

ANACARDIACEAE

 

Origin

 

Tropical America

 

Description

 

 

Small evergreen tree with smooth oval leaves, rounded at the tip, up to 12m. The small flowers are reddish and produce a fruit called ‘cashew nut’ with hangs from the pédoncule of the succulent fruit called « cashew apple ». 

 

Habitat

 

Cultivated, sometimes found wild in dry costal zones.

 

Propagation

 

The propagation is made by seeds. Cashew germinates slowly and poorly; several nuts are usually planted to the hole and thinned later. Fruits are produced after three years.

 

Culture and care

Can resist for 5 weeks at 32º to 35º F, like full sun after 3 years and is tolerant to every soils, wind and salt.

Cashews are easily propagated by seed, and seedlings may bear flowers by the second year when they are less than 3 feet in height. As long as they have good drainage, trees grow well over a wide range of soil types. Young trees must be protected from low temperatures because they will be damaged or even killed at 32°F. Older trees may have significant damage caused by frost or freeze, but usually will make a recovery. When planted in the landscape, trees should be in sheltered locations protected by more cold-hardy trees or buildings for optimum growth. 

Cashews should be fertilized every 3 to 4 months with a good-quality complete fruit tree-type organic fertilizer and are very drought-tolerant, although they will grow better when supplied with regular irrigation.

 

Uses

 

Toxicity

  

The external pod of the nut is corrosive and highly irritant. The smoke too.

 

- Ornemental use

  

Cultivated for decoration as isolated plant. Two variety : yellow fruits and red fruits.

  

- Alimentary use

 

 

The roasted nut is appreciated as an aperitif. The apple is used to make liqueurs and jams.

 

- Other uses

 

 

Cashew nut oil is similar to almond oil. It is also use industrially. The acid juice of the apple may be used as vinegar.

 

Etymology

 

 

Anacardium comes from the Greek « ana », similar, and « kardion », hearth, because of the colour and shape of the fruit.

 

Ethnology

 

 

In Désirade island, in Guadeloupe, they make a famous sirop of cajou apple, the bark of the nut is used as a pet killer.

 

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