This is a tropical American shrub or small tree, belonging to the Cashew family, or Anacardium occidentale. It is now naturalized in Africa and Asia.
The tree is an evergreen, with entire, feather-veined leaves. The flowers are small, sweet scented, and of a reddish color. The fleshy pear-shaped receptacle in which the cashew nuts are borne, is sometimes called the cashew apple. The fruit is kidney shaped. The nut proper is enclosed in a leathery covering, consisting of two layers, between which is a caustic, oily substance, exceedingly acrid; but this is eliminated by heat, so that when the kernels are roasted they have a pleasant flavor, and are highly esteemed for desserts. Care must be taken in roasting the nuts, as the fumes given off during this operation cause inflammation of the eyes. The nuts also yield an excellent oil.
The Cashew Nut.