Habitat and Distribution

Cashew is native to the area in Northeastern Brazil between the Atlantic rain forest and the Amazon rainforest.

Uses and Cultivation

It has become the number one tree nut crop in the world, since overtaking production of almonds in 2003.  Cashew is consumed all over the world as a snack and as a food ingredient.  The tree is drought tolerant, does not need highly fertile soil, and—beyond the rainforest—grows in regions where precipitation is high.    

Cashew is essentially a tropical crop, growing best in the warm, moist and typically tropical climate.  It is largely consumed as a dry fruit or an ingredient in different cuisines of many cultures around the world.  This nut has become very popular in the United States, the largest buyer of cashews worldwide.  The cashew tree can be planted as a shade tree, along with other fruit and nut trees, in regions with rainfall of at least 30 inches a year.  This tree is sun-loving and is intolerant of shade. 

Cashew is one of the most important and widely sought-after nuts.  It is an excellent source of protein and fibroid.  Cashew is not a plantation crop, and farmers do not rely exclusively its production.  The tree is a good crop for reforestation and contributing to the sustainability of the rainforest, especially in coastal areas that are prone to wind erosion.


Scientific classification:
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus: Anacardium
Species: A. occidentale