Anacardium occidentale L.

Etymology Genus Heart-shaped
Species Occurring in the West
Family Anacardiaceae
Synonyms -
Common Names Cashew Nut Tree
Status Exotic: Casual
Form Tree
Native Distribution Brazil


A cultivated tree planted sparingly here, it can grow up to 15m, and comes with a sprawling crown. The leaves are quite identifiable, being spirally arranged, obovate, with distinct white venation.

The small flowers are greenish-white at first, then turn pink later. The fruits are peculiar and diagnostic; making up the famous cashew nut at the tip, and a swollen fruit, which ripens from yellow to red. Botanically speaking, the cashew nut is the fruit, while the fleshy part is the pedicel or flower stalk, therefore known as an accessory fruit.

Interesting Facts:

The Cashew Nut Tree is widely cultivated in the tropics for the nuts, with the major producers being India, Brazil, Mozambique and Tanzania (Wee, 2003). Besides the nuts, the fleshy pedicel, also known as the Cashew Apple, is also eaten fresh or mixed in fruit salads. The raw nut is toxic with a resin known as urushiol but roasting removes the toxicity.

Cultivated tree in Punggol.

Leaves, spirally arranged.


Young cashew nut with growing apple.

Ripening cashew.


Wee YC. (2003) Tropical Trees and Shrubs: A Selection for Urban Planting. Sun Tree Publishing, USA. 392 pp.

Author: Jake
Posted: 2019-06-02