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(cashews), a family of dicotyledonous plants. The family consists largely of trees and shrubs, although woody lianas and, less frequently, subshrubs are also encountered. The small flowers, which are usually regular and unisexual, are in panicled inflorescences. The fruit is often a drupe or nut.
There are as many as 80 genera, embracing about 600 species. They are distributed predominantly in the tropics of both hemispheres; a few species occur in Southern Europe and in the temperate belts of Asia and the Americas. There are six species in the USSR: two are found exclusively on Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, and the remaining four occur in the Southern European USSR, the Caucasus, and Middle Asia.
The family includes a number of species with edible fruits and seeds, for example, the pistachio, mango, and cashew. Lacquers are obtained from a number of species, including those of the genus Rhus (sumac). Species of Rhus and Aspidosperma yield tannins. Resins, gums, mastics, vegetable wax, cooking and industrial oils, dyes, medicines, and valuable lumber are obtained from various Anacardiaceae species. Some species contain poisonous or caustic substances. The family includes species that are cultivated as ornamentals.
M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV