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Cashew

Anacardium occidentale

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Cashew trees are large, attractive, evergreen trees with large leaves and pretty, small, purple flowers. The cashew tree produces delicious & nutritious cashew seed (nuts) and the cashew apple. The cashew apple, also called cashew fruit, is the fleshy, oval-shaped part of the cashew fruit that is attached to the cashew nut. The cashew apple is yellow, orange or red in colour, is high in Vitamin C, refreshing, juicy, and a bit acidic and actually a false fruit. The real fruit is the Cashew nut. This tree is planted for its nutritional value, for its medicinal applications, as an ornamental tree & for alcohol production.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Spring
Fruiting time
Spring, Summer

Harvesting

Harvesting is labour-intensive and the crop is traditionally grown by smallholders in developing countries.

Propagation

Seed
Nuts germinate within 4 days when lying on wet soil. Germination time usually 4 days to 3 weeks.
Layering
Air-layering also sometimes used.

Special features

Attracts useful insects
Attracts bees, flies, & ants.
Crop rotation
Has been intercropped with cowpea, groundnuts and horsegram in India.
Drought resistant
Once established it is drought tolerant, and a rain-free season is needed to ensure flowering and proper fruit set.
Attracts birds
Wild birds and bats are attracted to cashew apples.
Repels harmful insects
One of the components of the bark gum acts as a vesicant and has insect repellent properties.
Pot plant
The cashew can be kept to a small size, and will fruit in a container.

Geography

Origin
Tropical America
Natural climate
Tropical, Sub-tropical and Semi-arid enviroments

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Medicinal
As treatment of syphilis, coughs, colds, stomach-aches, mental derangement, heart palpitation, rheumatism, blood sugar problems, kidney troubles, cholera, amongst other ailments.
Edible
The cashew apple and cashew nuts are roasted, salted, baked or used in salads. The flesh or juice are processed into jams, jellies, chutney, candied fruit, cashew wine, spirits and vinegar.
Notes
Nutritional. Medicinal. Alcohol production

Personality

Family
Anacardiaceae
Flower colour
Purples
Scent
Mild

Problems

Pests include stem borers and root borers including Plocaederus ferrugineus, tea mosquito, leaf miner, leaf and blossom webber, sucking bugs (Helopeltis schoutedeni and H. anacardii), the theraptus bug, thripts, bark borers and the defoliating caterpillar (Nudaurelia bellina). Diseases include die-back or pink disease, damping-off of seedlings (Phytophthora palmivora); anthracnose disease, leaf spots, shoot-rot and leaf fall.

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