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Cashew Apple

(Anacardium occidentale)

Other Names: Maranon, Caju, Merey, Cajueiro

Description:
The tree is bushy, low-branched and spreading, it can reach 10m in height and width. Yellowish-pink, 5-petalled flowers are borne in 15-25 cm terminal panicles of mixed male, female and bisexual. The true fruit of the tree is the cashew nut enclosed in the edible kidney-shaped kernel. The cashew nut develops first and when it is full-grown but not yet ripe, its peduncle fills out, becomes plump, fleshy, pear-shaped 5-11 cm in length, with waxy, yellow, red, or red-and-yellow skin and spongy, fibrous, very juicy, astringent, acid yellow pulp. This is called cashew apple.

Uses:
In Goa, India, the apples are still trampled by foot to extract the juice for the locally famous distilled liquor, feni. In Brazil the juice is used as a fresh beverage and for wine.

Health:
Cashew apples and cashew nuts are excellent sources of nutrition. The cashew apple contains five times more vitamin C than an orange and contains more calcium, iron and vitamin B1 than other fruit such as citrus, avocados and bananas.

Climate:
Cashew is a tropical fruit and although it can withstand high temperatures, a monthly mean of 25 C is regarded as optimal.

Soil:
The cashew is a strong plant that is renowned for growing in soils, especially sandy soils, that are generally unsuitable for other fruit trees. For the best production deep, well-drained sandy or sandy-loam soil is recommended. Cashew trees will not grow in poorly-drained soils.

Propagation:
Cashew will grow easily from seed but will not be true to type. Propagation for commercial growing is generally by grafting or air-layering.

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