Anacardium occidentals


BOTANICAL NAME:- Anacardium occidentals.


TAMIL : Andima, Kallarma, Kottaimundiri, Saram, Palamundiri 
ENGLISH : Cashew Nut


A medium sized tree with crooked trunk and terete, glabrous branches.

LEAVES:- Simple, alternate, ceraceous, 8.5-24 cm long, 5.8-14.5 cm broad, oblong, obovate or elliptic, rounded or somewhat retuseat apex, glabrous, firmly reticulately veined, base cuneate, margin wavy, lateral veins 10-15 pairs, prominent beneath; petioles 1-2.5 cm long.

FLOWERS:- Small, regular, polygamous in terminal, (bracteate) panicles longer than leaves.(period-November and Jan to March)

FRUIT:- Nut-reniform 2.5 cm long on a swollen, fleshy, yellow or red pedicel, pericarp cellular,full of acrid oil.seed reniform, ascending, exalbuminous, testa membranous, cotyledons semilunar with a milky taste (Jayaweera, 1981).


The Cashew nut is a native of Tropical America from Mexico to Peru, Brazil and West Indies. It was introduced to India from Brazil by Portuguese in the 16th century (Dassanayake and Fosberg, 1983). In Sri Lanka it is commonly found in village gardens and waste lands along the sandy western coast of the Island and in the dry zone (Purseglove, 1968; Jayaweera, 1981).

EDIBLE PARTS: Kernel of the seed and fruit apple.

FOOD USE: Cashew is one of the best nuts in the world. Matured seed kernels are eaten fresh, fried or roasted. It is also added into ice creams and fruit salads and used in the confectionery industry. Immatured kernels are prepared as a curry. 

Cashew apple is eaten fresh as a fruit and can be used in preparing pickles and salads. The extracted juice from cashew apple can be canned as a drink and used in vinegar preparations.


(Cashew Nut)

Moisture - 40 g, 
Energy - 568 Kcal, 
Protein - 18.4 g, 
Fats - 46.3 g, 
Carbohydrates 28.7 g, Calcium 28 mg, Phosphorus - 462 mg, 
Iron - 3.6 mg, 
Carotene - 5 meg, 
Thiamin - 250 meg, 
Riboflavin - 340 mg, 
Niacin - 2.4 mg, Vitamin C - 1 mg.

(Cashew Apple)

Moisture - 88 g, 
Protein - 0.2 g, Fat-0.1 g, 
Carbohydrate - 11.6 g, 
Vitamin C-234-371 mg (Perera et al, 1979).

The pericarp of the nut of this tree contains a toxic principle, cardol, anacardol, cardanol and anacardic acid. The kernels yield a fixed oil which contains linoleic, palmitic, stearic and lignoceric acids and sitosterin. The exudation from the bask is a mixture of gum-arabic and bassorin. A decoction of the bark of this tree is used as a remedy for diarrhoea, syphitiric swellings of joints and for diabetes. The juice of the ripe receptacle is recommended for scurvy, uterine troubles and dropsy. The oil of the pericarp is useful as an anaesthetic in leprosy and psoriasis. It is a powerful vesicant, vermicide and insecticide. The kernel of the fruit is used extensively in the confectionery trade. The oil extracted is a mechanical and chemical antidote for irritant poisons. In the Congo, the bark is used as an arrow poison and the oral administration of the tincture of the bark is supposed to lower blood sugar level


The shell or pericarps yield cashew shell oil which is a vesicant and is used as a waterproofing agent and as a preservative.


A drought tolerant plant. Adopted to a large range of soils. Requires a rainfall of 1000-2000 mm. Grown well at the altitudes below 1000 m.


Cashew is normally propagated from seeds sown directly in the field at the beginning of the rainy season, it does not transplant well. High density seeds are selected from those which sink in a solution of 150 g salt per litre of water. These seeds are placed  in each hole about 23 cm apart and 5-7.5 cm deep. Under good conditions germination occurs in 2-4 weeks. Subsequently seedlings are thinned to have one per 9 hole. Various methods of vegetative propagation are now available, including air/ground layering, grafting and inarching.

Spacing - Depending on soil type, spacing is of 9 x 9 m to 15 x 15 m.

Time to harvest - Fruit production begins 3-5 years after planting, depending on conditions and variety. The period from flowering to nut fall is 50-77 days. The apple takes 2-3 months to ripen fully.

Harvesting - The cashew apple should be picked before it drops, but the nuts can be left on the ground without damage if conditions are dry.


Cashew apple may be preserved as Jam or Canned. Matured dried nut can be preserved in dry places.