Wednesday, 20 February 2008


ANACARDIACEAE (Mango or Cashew nut family)
Mostly in tropical areas while some in temperate regions.

Common examples are
Mango :Mangifera indica
Cashew nut :
Anacardium occidentale

Pistachio nut :Pistacia vera
Sumac :Rhus sp.
Lannea coromandelica

Semecarpus anacardium ( बीब्बा)

Buchanania lanzan (Chironji)

Vegetative Characters: Shrubs or trees, often with milky and acrid juice.Bark is usually resinous.
Leaves alternate,sometimes opposite (Bouea), exstipulate,simple or 1-3 foliate or pinnately compound.
Flowers and Inflorescence:
Inflorescences are various but usually the numerous small flowers are arranged in axillary and terminal pannicles.Flowers are bracteate,actinomorphic,unisexual or polygynous or less frequently hermaphrodite(e.g.Buchnania) and hypogynous or rarely perigynous. Calyx: 3-5 sepals-Various degrres of fusion.Corolla : 3-5 petals-free or adnate to the discs.v Rarely petals are absent as in Pistacias. Androecium shows much variation. Stamens are twice or as many as petals or rarely more. In Spondias and Buchnanias 10 fertile stamens in two alternate whorls. In anacardium two whorls with all or few fertile stamens.In several species of Rhus only one whorl of 5 stamens is seen. In Mangifera 1-5 stamens present of these only one is fertile.
Nectariferous disc is usually present between stamens and petal- flat/cup shaped/annular; entire or lobed. Absent in Pistacia.
The number of carpels varies from 1-5. The gynoecium has frequently three fused carpels with unilocular ovary with single pendulous ovule. Styles three :free or curvate with simple or capitate stigmas.
Fruit : usually a drupe with resinous mesocarp.
Pollination and seed dispersal :
Large inflorescence of small flowers,secretye nectar in abundance and accessible to insects with small proboscis. In Rhus pollination is by flies.
Most of the members of the family are dispersed by birds and a few such as Parishia and sweitonia which have winged fruits are modified for wind dispersal. Mangifera with its luscious fruits is dispersed by human agency or by animals.
Mangifera indica(Mango):widely cultivated in tropical asia for its prized dessert fruit with aromatic flesh.Unripe fruits are used for pickles.
Anacardium occidentale (Cashew nut): Native of tropical America and naturalized in Asia.The kernels are eaten raw or fried. Fruit juice is fermented and made into wine (FENI) The gum posseses insecticidal properties.
Pistacia vera (Pistachio nut) : Found in Afganistan. The nuts are edible and used in sweet-meats and cofectionary and icecreams.
Semecarpus anacardium (Bibba, Marking nut,Dhobis-nut) : Pericarp of the fruit is largely used for dyeing textiles. A blank ink obtained from the nuts is used for marking clothes.
Lannea coromandelica (Moi) : syn. Odina woodier......often pronounced as Oh-Diana Oh- Dear is found throughout hotter parts of India.Yellowish white gum obtained from the bark is used in calico printing.
Rhus parviflora :Fruits sold in the market under the name of Tatri are used as tamarinds.
Many species provide useful timber.
Buchanania lanzan: Chironji-a dry fruit

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