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Cashew Apple

The plant may grow to 12 metres (40 feet) in height where the soil is fertile and the humidity high. The leathery leaves are spirally arranged and elliptical in shape. The curved fruit, which is not a true nut, is shaped like a large thick bean and can reach more than 2.5 cm (1 inch) long. It appears as though one of its ends has been forcibly sunk into a pear-shaped swollen stem (hypocarp), called the cashew apple. The cashew apple, which is an accessory fruit (e.g., not a true fruit), is about three times as large as the true fruit and is reddish or yellow. The true fruit has two walls, or shells. The outer shell is smooth, thin, and somewhat elastic and is olive green until maturity, when it becomes pale brown. The inner shell is harder and must be cracked like the shells of nuts to obtain the edible seed inside. A brown oily resin is produced between the two shells and can blister human skin.