Espave (Anacardium excelsum)

Common Name(s): Espave, wild cashew

Scientific Name: Anacardium excelsum

Distribution: Central and South America (from Costa Rica south to Ecuador)

Tree Size: 75-150 ft (23-46 m) tall,

                      3-5 ft (1-1.5 m) trunk diameter

Average Dried Weight: 31.2 lbs/ft3 (500 kg/m3)

Specific Gravity (Basic, 12% MC): .41, .50

Janka Hardness: 470 lbf (2,090 N)

Modulus of Rupture: 9,060 lbf/in2 (62.5 MPa)

Elastic Modulus: 1,262,000 lbf/in2 (8.71 GPa)

Crushing Strength: 4,920 lbf/in2 (33.9 MPa)

Shrinkage: Radial: 2.8%, Tangential: 5.3%,

                        Volumetric: 8.5%, T/R Ratio: 1.9

Color/Appearance: Heartwood is golden brown, sometimes with a yellow or green hue, darkening to reddish brown with age. Wide, lighter-colored sapwood ranges from gray to light pink. Quartersawn surfaces have a ribbon-stripe appearance due to interlocked grain.

Grain/Texture: Grain is interlocked. With a medium to coarse texture and good natural luster.

Rot Resistance: Rated as moderately durable to non-durable; poor insect resistance.

Workability: Generally easy to work, though planing and sanding can be problematic because of the interlocked grain and low density, causing tearout and/or fuzzy surfaces. Despite low shrinkage rates, checking and warpage can occur if not initially dried with care. Glues, stains, and finishes well.

Odor: No characteristic odor.

Allergies/Toxicity: Although severe reactions are quite uncommon, espave has been reported to cause skin and respiratory irritation, as well as asthma-like symptoms. See the articles Wood Allergies and Toxicity and Wood Dust Safety for more information.

Pricing/Availability: Not commonly exported internationally. Expect prices to be moderate within its natural range. Decorative veneer with ribbon-stripe figure may be more expensive.

Sustainability: This wood species is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Common Uses: Veneer, plywood, furniture, boxes/crates, and utility lumber.

Comments: In lumber form, this species is traded under the name espave, though it’s commonly called wild cashew in tree form. Espave is a close relative of the true cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) yielding the popular edible nut.

Images: Drag the slider up/down to toggle between raw and finished wood.

Identification: See the article on Hardwood Anatomy for definitions of endgrain features.

Espave (endgrain 10x)
Espave (endgrain 10x)
Espave (endgrain 1x)

Porosity: diffuse porous

Arrangement: solitary and radial multiples

Vessels: large to very large, few to very few

Parenchyma: vasicentric and lozenge

Rays: narrow; normal spacing

Lookalikes/Substitutes: None.

Notes: None.

> Hardwoods > Anacardiaceae > Anacardium > Related Species

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