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Cashew Apple

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Two cashew apples hang on the tree

The cashew apple is not a true fruit. The actual fruit is the gray nut on top.

Photo © Flickr user Young in Panama
Latin Name: Anacardium occidentale

Other Names: marañon, merey, caju,cajueiro

Type: Tree

Native to: Brazil

Fruit: The true fruit is the gray nut (drupe) on top. The apple-like bottom portion is a swollen stalk - a false fruit (also known as a pseudofruit, accessory, or receptacle).

The cashew is related to the mango. Both belong to the sumac family. The shell of the cashew is toxic and special roasting and shelling procedures must be followed for safety.

Size: The tree grows 35-40' tall.

Hardiness: Cashews will be severely damaged if the temperatures fall below freezing.

Propagation: Usually by seed. Also budding and air-layering.

Uses: The cashew nut can be used after special processing. The cashew apple can be eaten fresh, juiced, preserved in syrup, or dried. The juice contains tannin, which should be removed to prevent possible nutritional deficiencies.

The cashew apple is used in some countries to treat sore throat, dysentary, rheumatism, neuralgia, and as a diuretic.

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