Other Names: Maranon, Caju, Merey, Cajueiro
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.
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.
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.
Cashew is a tropical fruit and although it can withstand high temperatures, a monthly mean of 25 °C is regarded as optimal.
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.
Cashew will grow easily from seed but will not be true to type. Propagation for commercial growing is generally by grafting or air-layering.