Semecarpus australiensis, Australian cashew nut, is a species of Australian trees that grow naturally in monsoon forests (rainforests with deciduous trees) or rainforests, from sea level to 250m, often near to the sea. It has been found in NT, Cape York, and Queensland wet tropics, Australia, Torres Strait Islands, New Guinea, New Britain, Aru Islands and additional Pacific Islands. It is related to the standard cashew (Anacardium occidentale).
The leaves are prominently veined, large, dark green on the upper surface and paler underneath. Small cream-coloured flowers are followed by unusual fruits that have the seeds on the outside contained in a leathery pod attached to an orange or red fruit-like fleshy base.
Because of the extremely irritating sap, Aborigines exercise great care in preparing the seeds, including handling the fruit with hands coated in clay for skin protection. The seeds are roasted in the fire before eating, and taste similar to normal cashews.
- Hyland, B. P. M.; Whiffin, T.; Zich, F. A. et al. (Dec 2010). "Factsheet – Semecarpus australiensis". Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants. Edition 6.1, online version [RFK 6.1]. Cairns, Australia: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), through its Division of Plant Industry; the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research; the Australian Tropical Herbarium, James Cook University. Retrieved 13 Mar 2013.
- Low, T., Wild Food Plants of Australia, 1991. ISBN 0-207-16930-6
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