Cashew, k $aD -sh$ooX', a spreading tree native to tropical America. It reaches 20 to 40 feet (6 to 12 m) in height. Its evergreen leaves are oval, and the red or yellow-pink flowers grow in clusters. The cashew bears a small, kidney-shaped nut about one inch (2.5 cm) long. The nut grows on a fleshy stalk that is similar in size and shape to a pear. The stalk is called the cashew apple.
Both the stalk and the nut are edible when roasted, but they are not safe to eat when raw. The nut shell contains an irritating oil. The roasted nuts can be eaten like peanuts or used in candies or bakery goods. They have a pleasant, oily taste. A sweet oil pressed from the kernels is used in cooking. The stem of the tree yields a gum used in varnish. Most cashews produced for commerce are from Africa, India, or Brazil.
The cashew is Anacardium occidentale of the family Anacardiaeceae.