ANACARDIACEAE (Cashew Family)
David J. Bogler and George Yatskievych
shrubs, or lianas, usually dioecious, with well-developed resin canals in the
bark and leaves and acrid or milky sap. Leaves alternate, pinnately compound,
trifoliate, or less commonly appearing simple. Stipules absent or obscure. Inflorescences
terminal or axillary panicles or clusters. Flowers small, actinomorphic, almost
always imperfect, usually hypogynous. Sepals usually 5, fused at the base.
Petals usually 5, distinct. Stamens 5–10, the filaments usually
distinct, reduced or absent in pistillate flowers, the anthers attached above
the base. Cuplike nectar disk present between stamens and pistil. Pistil of
usually 3 fused carpels, but almost always with only 1 carpel fertile and fully
developed; reduced or absent in staminate flowers. Ovary with a single fertile
ovule (or rarely 1 ovule per carpel), often appearing 1-locular, the
placentation axile. Styles 3, distinct or united. Stigmas 3, capitate. Fruits
drupes, often somewhat flattened, often waxy or hairy, the stone 1-seeded, bony.
Sixty to 80 genera, about 600 species, chiefly tropical, but extending into
temperate areas of North and South America, Asia, and Europe.
includes a number of important fruits and nuts, including pistachio (Pistacia
vera L.), mango (Mangifera indica L.), and cashew (Anacardium
occidentale L.). A small number of species are cultivated as ornamentals.
However, many members are poisonous or cause severe dermatitis.