The Cashew Family: Anacardiaceae

Anacardiaceae R. Br. (1818), nom. cons.

Trees, shrubs, rarely subshrubs, lianas, frequently with contact dermatitis-causing exudate; vertical resin canals present in bark and in phloem of petioles and large veins of leaves, also widely present in fruits, flowers, and other tissues. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite or whorled, simple or pinnately compound, rarely palmate or very rarely bipinnate, sessile or petiolate; leaflets opposite, subopposite, or alternate, entire, serrate, dentate, or crenate; stipules 0. Inflorescences terminal and/or axillary, thyrsoid, paniculate, racemose, or spicate, rarely cauliflorous, rarely flowers solitary; bracts and prophylls caducous or persistent. Flowers actinomorphic, unisexual or bisexual (plants dioecious, monoecious, andromonoecious, polygamous, or hermaphrodite); pedicels often articulate; hypanthium sometimes present; perianth usually 2-whorled, rarely 1-whorled or absent; sepals (3–)4–5, usually basally fused, rarely bracteate or calyptriform, caducous to persistent, sometimes accrescent in fruit; petals (3)4–5(–8), rarely absent, imbricate or valvate, caducous to persistent, rarely accrescent in fruit; androecium usually actinomorphic, rarely zygomorphic; stamens (1–)5–10(–>100), in 1 or 2 whorls, rarely more whorls, in some genera only 1 or 2 stamens fertile; filaments distinct, rarely basally connate; anthers tetrasporangiate, dorsi- or basifixed, usually longitudinally dehiscent, introrse, rarely extrorse; disk intra-staminal, rarely extra-staminal or absent; gynoecium 1-carpellate or syncarpous and 2–12-carpellate; rarely the carpels distally distinct and the gynoecium appearing apocarpous; ovary usually superior, rarely inferior, 1–5(–12)-locular; ovule 1 per locule, apotropous, attached basally, apically, or laterally; style 1–5(–12), apical or lateral, erect or recurved, rarely sigmoid; stigmas capitate, discoid, lobate, or spathulate, rarely punctiform. Fruits drupes or samaras (rarely syncarps, utricles, or baccates), fleshy or dry, occasionally subtended by a fleshy hypocarp or an accrescent, chartaceous or fleshy calyx or corolla; mesocarp sometimes with prominent black resin canals. Seeds 1–5(–12); endosperm scant or absent; embryo curved or straight (rarely horseshoe-shaped or pyramidal); cotyledons usually planoconvex or flat and distinct, usually equal in size, rarely fused or ruminate, sometimes bilobed.
Approximately 81 genera and 800 species in dry to moist, mostly lowland habitats in the tropics and subtropics worldwide but also extending into the temperate zone. Absent from extreme northern North America and Eurasia, the southern tip of South America, temperate and arid Australia, and New Zealand.

Pistaciaceae Adans. (1763).
Terebinthaceae Durande (1782), nom. illeg.
Spondiadaceae Martinov (1820).
Podoaceae Baill. ex Franch. (1889).
Julianiaceae Hemsl. (1906).
Blepharocaryaceae Airy Shaw (1964)


Keys to Anacardiaceae:

Neotropikey – Key to Neotropical Anacardiaceae
Discover Life – Interactive key to worldwide Anacardiaceae genera
Flora of China – Static key to Anacardiaceae of China

Web Links:

The Families of Flowering Plants by Watson and Dallwitz – description of the family
The Plant List – statistics and genera list
University of Hawaii Image Gallery
Encyclopedia of Life Anacardiaceae Page
Flora of Zimbabwe

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Award No. DEB-0919485  

Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF)