Common Name(s): Cashew
Distribution: Tropical areas of Central and South America
Genus Size: About 20 species
Visual Characteristics: Heartwood is usually golden brown, sometimes with color variations. Grain tends to be interlocked, so quartersawn surfaces also exhibit a ribbon-stripe appearance.
Identification: Diffuse porous wood usually has large to very large pores that are sparsely distributed. Parenchyma is usually vasicentric, sometimes expanding to include lozenge or confluent parenchyma. Nearly all heartwood in the genus is fluorescent under a blacklight.
Comments: Anacardium serves as the type genus for the entire family Anacardiaceae. The name is partially derived from the Greek cardia (think of our English term, cardiac arrest), for its heart-shaped fruit. As with many species in the Anacardiaceae family, wood in this genus has been reported to cause various allergenic reactions, particularly respiratory irritation.