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Anacardium occidentale L. (Anacardiaceae)
Vernacular name: mamuang himmaphaan
Common name: cashewnut tree (English)

  Evergreen tree, up to 12 m tall, with a wide dome-shaped crown. Leaves alternate, obovate to obovate-oblong, up to 20 by 15 cm, leathery, red-brown when young, later shining dark green, glabrous, with distinct midrib and veins; petiole 1-2 cm long, swollen at base, flattened on upper surface. Inflorescence a lax terminal, drooping, many-flowered panicle, up to 25 cm long; flowers male and hermaphrodite, fragrant. Sepals 5, lanceolate to oblong-ovate, 4-15 by 1-2 mm, pubescent. Petals 5, linear-lanceolate, 7-13 by 1-1.5 mm, reflexed, whitish at anthesis, later turning pinkish-red. Stamens 10. Fruit a kidney-shaped nut, about 3 by 1.2 cm, with grey-brown, resinous hard pericarp; pedicel much enlarged and swollen, forming the fruit-like cashew apple, pear-shaped, 10-20 by 4-8 cm, shiny, red to yellow, soft and juicy. Seeds kidney-shaped.
  Cashewnut prefer high temperatures and well distribution of rainfall.
  Young shoots and leaves are collected during rainy season and are eaten fresh with hot and spicy dishes such as nam phrik kapi (hot chili sauce) or in papaya salad. Seed contain 45% oil and 20% protein and are also rich in potassium.
  The bark and flowers help in treating diarrhea and dysentery, while the leaves are used as an expectorant. The fleshy part of the fruit has diuretic and laxative properties, and the shell of the nuts and the seeds are antidiarrheic. Young shoots and leaves contains high ammount of gallic acid, a potent antioxidant, and its derivatives.
  Cashewnut is normally grown by germinating fully mature nuts and 1-year old seedlings are transplanted to permanent site. When planting for nuts, air layering or grafting of high yield cultivars are normally practiced.
  Caution: sap from fruit kernel is acrid and highly irritate.


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