The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is a tropical evergreen tree that produces the cashew nut and the cashew apple. It can grow as high as 14 metres (46 ft), but the dwarf cashew, growing up to 6 metres (20 ft), has proved more profitable, with earlier maturity and higher yields.
The cashew nut is served as a snack or used in recipes, like other nuts, although it is actually a seed. The cashew apple is a fruit, whose pulp can be processed into a sweet, astringent fruit drink or distilled into liqueur.
The shell of the cashew nut yields derivatives that can be used in many applications from lubricants to paints, and other parts of the tree have traditionally been used for snake-bites and other folk remedies.
The fats and oils in cashew nuts are 62% monounsaturated fat, 18% polyunsaturated fat, and 21% saturated fat (9% palmitic acid (16:0) and 7% stearic acid (18:0)).
Cashews, as with other tree nuts, are a good source of antioxidants. Alkyl phenols, in particular, are abundant in cashews. Cashews are also a source of dietary trace minerals copper, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.