The West-India-Bean, or Cashew Nut-Tree.
Arbor acajou vulgo cajou.
IT appears by the description of the anacardium how very improperly it is called a nut, for it is the kernel of a large fruit, though growing in a singular manner. The case is just the same with respect to the Cashew nut, for it is neither a nut nor a bean, any more than the other: but it is necessary to keep to the common names, and it is proper they should be mentioned together.
The tree which produces it is large and spreading; the bark is of a pale colour, rough and cracked, and the wood is brittle. The leaves are half a foot long, and two or three inches broad, blunt at the end, and of a fine green colour. The flowers are small, but they grow in tufts together. The fruit is of the bigness and shape of a pear, and of an orange and purple colour mixt together; the Cashew nut or bean, as it is called, hangs naked from the bottom of this fruit. It is of the bigness of a garden bean, and indented in the manner of a kidney; it is of a greyish colour, and consists of a shelly covering, and a fine white fleshy substance within, as sweet as an almond. Between the two coats of this shell, as between those of the anacardium, there is a sharp and caustic oil, which serves in the same manner as the other to take off freckles, but it must be used with great caution. It actually burns the skin, so that it must be suffered to lie on only a few moments; and even when used ever so cautiously, it sometimes causes mischief.