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Semecarpus anacardium - L.f.

Common Name Marking Nut Tree. Oriental Cashew
Family Anacardiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards The shell surrounding the seed contains a strongly irritant substance[63 ]. If this is the same as for the related cashew nut, then it will be destroyed by roasting[K ]. The plant is poisonous to the touch in the same manner as poison ivy (Toxicodendron spp), bringing the skin up in a severe rash[200 ].
Habitats On hill slopes, usually at elevations between 500 - 1,000 metres[310 ].
Range E. Asia - Indian subcontinent, east to Australia.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Semecarpus anacardium Marking Nut Tree. Oriental Cashew

Semecarpus anacardium Marking Nut Tree. Oriental Cashew
Wikimedia.org - J.M.Garg


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Semecarpus anacardium is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 25 m (82ft) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid and neutral soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Anacardium latifolium Lam. Anacardium longifolium Lam. Anacardium officinale Pritz. Anacardium officinarum Gaertn. Anacardium orientale Steud. Anacardium solitarium Stokes. Cassuvium anacardium Kuntze. Cassuvium longifolium Kuntze.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Fruit  Seed
Edible Uses:

Care needs to be exercised when using this food since, like the related cashew nut, an oil from the shell has a strong irritant effect upon the skin[63 ]. Seed[63 , 310 ]. Roasted[335 ]. Almond-like[317 ]. Young fruits are pickled[335 ]. The roasted fruit rinds are eaten by local people[272 ]. The pulp of the pedicels is roasted and eaten[310 , 335 , 460 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Ripe fruits are aphrodisiac, digestive and stimulant[272 ]. A paste or juice of the fruit is used in the treatment of bronchitis, dysentery, fever, asthma and haemorrhoids[272 ]. The pure black acrid juice obtained from the fruits is used externally to remove rheumatic pains, aches and sprains[460 ]. A little of the oil is rubbed over the parts affected - it is an efficacious remedy except in such constitutions as are subject to inflammations and swellings[460 ]. Mixed with garlic and other substances, the juice is used in the treatment of almost every sort of venereal complaint[460 ]. The bark is mildly astringent[460 ]. A paste of the seed, mixed with honey, is used in the treatment of gastric troubles[272 ]. The juice of the seeds is applied externally in the treatment of ringworm and severely chapped feet[272 ]. The juice of the seeds has been tested as a possible anticancer agent[272 ]. An oil obtained from the seeds is used to treat skin eruptions[272 ]. The juice of the root is considered to be effective in causing sterility in women[272 ]. The latex is applied externally in the treatment of headaches, skin diseases and scabies[272 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

The rind surrounding the seed furnishes a sort of indelible ink[63 ]. The juice of the pedicels, mixed with lime water, is used as a black marking ink to write on cloth[46 , 310 ]. The report is not clear which type of lime water is referred to, whether it is the acid juice of the lime fruit, Citrus aurantifolia; or an alkaline mixture of water and calcium hydroxide[K ]. A black dye is obtained from the pedicels[310 , 387 ]. The seeds are a source of tannins[272 ]. An oil obtained from the seeds is used for various industrial purposes such as a floor dressing; as additive substances to lacquers, dyes and insulating material; in the plastics industry; for regenerating rubber materials; and to protect wood from white ants[46 , 310 , 317 ]. A gum is obtained from the tree[387 ]. The wood contains an acrid juice which renders it dangerous to those who work upon it[460 ]. The wood is used to make charcoal[310 ]. Industrial Crop: Oil.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Oil  Management: Standard  Regional Crop

Plants are adaptable to a variety of tropical and subtropical conditions[335 ]. An easily grown plant requiring very little attention once established, it succeeds in soils that are too poor to support other crops[63 , 200 ]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 - 6.5[200 ]. Dioecious - both male and female forms need to be grown if fruits and seed are required.

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Oil  Materials, chemicals and energy include bioplastics, biomass, glycerin, soaps, lubricants, paints, biodiesel. Oilseed crop types.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation


Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Balia, Bela, Bhalai, Bhalay, Bhalayo, Bhallataki, Bhela, Bhelatuki, Bhelwa, Bhilamo, Bhilamu, Bhilava, Bhilawa, Bholaguti, Bhollia, Bhularva, Bibba, Bibbo, Bibha, Bilva, Bilwa, Che, Chera, Dieng-soh-bhala, Erimugi, Goddu geru, Jidi, Karigeru, Kawh-tebel, Mai-ka-aung, Marany Nut, Marsh Nut, Nalla jeedi, Pohon rengas tinta, Shenkotta, Shenkottei, Thitsi-bo, Varnish Tree

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Asia, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, East Africa, Fiji, India, Indochina, Indonesia, Iran, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Northeastern India, Pacific, Papua New Guinea, PNG, SE Asia, Thailand

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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