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Anacardium occidentale

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat.

Anacardium occidentale (Image: W. Stuppy, RBG Kew)

Seed Storage

This species has Orthodox seeds - dry to 15-20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.

Germination Requirements

The seeds of this species may be Physiologically Dormant (inferred from available information on germination and of characteristics of seeds in this family).

This type of dormancy can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat. Use a moist pre-chill or pre-heat treatment (depending on local climatic conditions) or a dry after-ripening treatment, before germinating the seeds on agar, germination paper or sand at their optimum temperature. If this does not work, you can assist the embryo by performing delicate surgery to enable the embryo to grow. Excise the tissue near the root tip.

Seed Morphology

The fruit of the cashew is a kidney-shaped nut with a double-walled shell.

See other images of this species at VIRBOGA (The Virtual Botanic Garden).

Anacardium occidentale
(Image: W. Stuppy, RBG Kew)



Accepted name: Anacardium occidentale L.

Synonyms: Acajuba occidentalis (L.) Gaertn., Anacardium microcarpum Ducke

Common name: cashew, pomme cajou

References and Links

  • Baskin, C.C. and Baskin J.M. (1998). Seeds: ecology, biogeography, and evolution of dormancy and germination. Academic Press, USA.
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
  • Janick, J. and Paull, R.E. (eds.) (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts. CAB International, UK.


  • AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Anacardium occidentale.
  • Forest & Landscape Denmark - University of Copenhagen, Denmark: seed leaflet on Anacardium occidentale.
  • PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Anacardium occidentale.
  • SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Anacardium occidentale.
  • Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Anacardium occidentale.