CASHEW NUT, the fruit of the cashew, cadju or acajou tree, Anacardium occidentale (nat. ord. Anacardiaceae), a native of the West Indian Islands. The fruit is kidney-shaped, about an inch in length, and the kernel is enclosed in two coverings, the outer of which is smooth, grey and leathery. Inside this external rind is a dark-coloured layer, containing an excessively acrid juice. The kernels have a bland, oily, pleasant taste. They are much eaten, both raw and roasted, in the tropical regions in which the tree is cultivated, and they yield a light-coloured, sweet-tasted oil, said to be equal to olive oil for culinary purposes. The fruit-stalk, immediately under the fruit, is swollen and fleshy, and assumes a pear-like shape. This swollen portion of the stalk has a pleasant acid taste, and is eaten under the name of cashew apple. By fermentation it yields an alcoholic beverage, from which a spirit for drinking is distilled in the West Indies and Brazil. The stem of the tree yields a gum analogous to gum arabic.
Anacardium occidentale, Cashew Nut plant, belonging to the nat. ord. Anacardiaceae.
1. Branch (reduced), bearing flowers and fruit. The fruit-stalks are enlarged in a pear-like form, bearing the nut (the true fruit) at their apex.
2. Flower expanded.
3. Stamen and pistil, with the calyx; one fertile stamen longer than the others.
4. Stamen separated.
5. Nut constituting the fruit.
6. Nut opened longitudinally.
7. Seed separated from the nut.
8. Cotyledons opened to show the radicle a, and the plumule.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)