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Anacardium excelsum - Wild cashew


Native to:



Southern Central America, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, parts of the Caribbean.

Along river banks. 0-1100 meters above sea level. 30 meter tall tree.

Anacardium excelsum - Wild cashew

Ecological value:

Fruit-eating bats pick the wild cashew and transport it to their feeding places where they eat only the exterior part. The nuts are dropped onto the forest floor which later germinate. Found in secondary forests, Possible pioneer that can be used for reforestation projects.

Material uses:

Fiber known as mijuga is obtained from the bark. Wood, moderately resistant to fungi and wood-boring insects. Used for tools, furniture, kitchen utensils and boxes. It can be used as a substitute for mahogany. Traditionally for making dugout canoes.

Edible uses:

Nut, toasted. Taste like cashews. The raw nut is toxic. The fruit, resembling a cashew, is not edible.

Medicinal use:

No record on this species.

Other details:

Oil is toxic. Bark used to stupefy fish. Anacardium excelsum belongs to a genus of 20 species. Young plants seldom found in mature forests as they need sunlight to thrive.


Michael Sanchez/Christine Facella


“Anacardium Excelsum (Bertero & Balb. Ex Kunth) Skeels | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science.” n.d. Plants of the World Online. Accessed November 29, 2023.
“Anacardium Excelsum.” 2021. Wikipedia. March 13, 2021.
“Anacardium Excelsum - Useful Tropical Plants.” n.d.
Uphof. J. C. Th., ‘Dictionary of Economic Plants’, Weinheim, 1959
Chudnoff Martin., ‘Tropical Timbers of the World. Ag. Handbook No. 607’, USDA Forest Service. Wisconsin., 1984
Image source: Franz Xaver

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