Deciduous or evergreen trees, shrubs and woody vines; bark often resinous; sap milky. Leaves alternate, simple, trifoliate or pinnately compound; margins saw-toothed or entire; stipules absent. Flower clusters terminal or axillary, branched and often flat-topped. Flowers bisexual or unisexual, regular, small, with an intra-staminal disk. Sepals mostly 5, united at the base. Petals 5, free or basally united, white, green or yellow. Stamens 5 or 10, the filaments free or occasionally united at the base.ovary superior, of 3 fused carpels (2 usually aborting), and with 1 chamber and 1 ovule, the placentation basal, apical or parietal. Fruit mostly a drupe.
Unfortunately many species contain resinous harmful phenolic juices that produce contact dermatitis; this can be counteracted with alkali or antihistamine. Most notable of these species is Toxicodendron radicans, Poison Ivy.
Considered closely related to the Sapindaceae which once included Hippocastanaceae, and Aceraceae.
About 73 genera and 850 species mostly tropical and subtropical. Australia has 9 genera and 13 species.
A family with several major edible fruits and nuts with commercial species including: Anacardium occidentale, Cashew; Pistacia vera, Pistachio Nut; Mangifera indica, Mango; Spondias, Jamaica Plum,Mombin, Hog Plum; and Semecarpus anacardium, Dhobi's Nut.The family is also the source of various waxes, varnishes, resins and lacquers (e.g. Rhus verniciflua), tannins for the leather industry, and timber.
Resinous parts and bark with vertical resin ducts; mostly trifoliate or pinnate leaves; flowers often unisexual, with a nectariferous disk; carpels 3, united, the ovary with 1 chamber containing 1 ovule; fruit a drupe.
Source: (2002). Anacardiaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.