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Anacardium occidentalis
Cashew

Anarcardium occidentalis

Origin

South and Central America.

Ecology

Annual rainfall: 500-3500 mm.

Normal temperature range:  22-35C.

Altitude range: 0 to 1200m.

Seasonal adaptability: Good drought tolerance. Sensitive to frost.

Soils: Sandy soils with good drainage, pH of 4.5-6.5.

Light requirement: Strong light demander.

Description

Height at maturity: 12m.

Form: Short bole, spreading crown, evergreen.

Primary advantages

Produces edible nut marketable as cash crop; Peduncle (fruit) is edible. Can grow in drought-prone locations; suitable for deep sandy soil.

Primary disadvantages

Some diseases, such as Anthracnose, can infest cashew and reduce nut yields considerably. Requires good tap root and deep soil for good growth.

Products and yields

Nut and peduncles: About 45 kg/tree/year; 450-850 kg/ha in plantations.

Wood products: Small timber, fuelwood.

Other: Young shoots may be eaten as a vegetable. Cashew nut shell liquid has many industrial uses from high-temperature paints to vehicle clutch pads. Fruits (peduncles) used to make jam, vinegar etc.

Propagation

Usually by seedling. Plant multiple seeds per bag. For better yields, use grafting of improved variety. Pots must be tall enough to allow good tap root development.

Seed treatment

Select seeds that sink in water or in a sugar-water solution. Seeds of high density produce much better seedlings. Seeds should be scarified.

Management

Plant at 8x8m spacing; may be thinned later if needed. Weeding is necessary for about 3 years. Remove branches to about 1 m height of trunk for easier management.

Agroforestry uses

Sometimes used in intercropping systems during establishment phase, for example, with pineapple.

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