Anacardium occidentale

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Anacardium occidentale

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Order [[]]
Family [[]]
Genus [[]]

2n =

Origin : area of origin

wild or cultivated

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Anacardium occidentale Linn. CASHEW. This tree is indigenous to the West Indies, Central America, Guiana, Peru and Brazil in all of which countries it is cultivated. The Portuguese transplanted it as early as the sixteenth century to the East Indies and Indian archipelago. Its existence on the eastern coast of Africa is of still more recent date, while neither China, Japan, or the islands of the Pacific Ocean possess it. [1] The shell of the fruit has thin layers, the intermediate one possessing an acrid, caustic oil, called cardol, which is destroyed by heat, hence the kernels are roasted before being eaten; the younger state of the kernel, however, is pronounced wholesome and delicious when fresh. Drury [2] says the kernels are edible and wholesome, abounding in sweet, milky juice and are used for imparting a flavor to Madeira wine. Ground and mixed with cocoa, they make a good chocolate. The juice of the fruit is expressed, and, when fermented, yields a pleasant wine; distilled, a spirit is drawn from the wine making a good punch. A variety of the tree is grown in Travancore, probably elsewhere, the pericarp of the nuts of which has no oil but may be chewed raw with impunity. An edible oil equal to olive oil or almond oil is procured from the nuts but it is seldom prepared, the kernels being used as a table fruit. A gum, similar to gum arabic, called cadju gum, is secreted from this tree. The thickened receptacle of the nut has an agreeable, acid flavor and is edible. [3]

  1. Unger, F. U. S. Pat. Off. Rpt. 347. 1859.
  2. Drury, H. Useful Pls. Ind. 33. 1858.
  3. Masters, M. T. Treas. Bot. 1:58. 1870.
Sturtevant, Notes on edible plants, 1919.