Cashew, Yellow (Anacardium occidentale)Regular price $99.95
The cashew is an evergreen tree native to northeastern Brazil best known for its kidney-shaped seeds that grow below the yellow to red, fleshy “apple.” The edible seeds, called “nuts” are housed in a double-hulled shell with an irritating oily resin that should be handled with care. They are members of the sumac family (Anacardiaceae) that grow from 12 to 30 feet high with oval, leathery leaves and fragrant pink and white flowers that bloom from November to January.
Cashew nuts are a staple of South and East Asian cuisine and are a favorite protein-rich snack food in the West. In addition to the nuts, other parts of the trees are used locally where they are grown. The fleshy “apples” can be made into a fruit drink and vitamin C-rich jams and jellies, the caustic resin from the shell is an effective insecticide, and the hard, strong wood has been used in boats, shipping crates, and charcoal.
Cashew trees need full sun in order to flower and fruit, and rich, well-draining, sandy soil. They need to be watered well while establishing, and then during dry periods. Fertilize them once every two months to ensure good fruit and seed production, and prune them regularly to promote growth and afford good air circulation. They are hardy to USDA zones 9 to 11, with frost protection.