Native Cashew

Semecarpus australiensis


A spreading tree to 12 m high; leaves large, elliptic-oblong to 25 cm long, dark green above, paler below; flowers cream, small; fruit oblong, brown to 3 cm long, on a swollen, fleshy, orange peduncle. Found in coastal monsoon vine forest. Flowers August-October. Fruit November-January.


This tree is considered very dangerous as the sap can cause severe swelling, rashes and irritation to some people. The swollen red peduncle, ldaldardi, may be eaten without cooking. The seed, burrulk, inside the ripe brown fruit, irdimarda, is eaten after the fruit is roasted.

Caution must be taken to avoid touching the fruit too much. Often the seed is pricked out with a sharp stick and placed straight in the mouth. When the fruit is being roasted on the fire the smoke should be avoided and the fire must be made in an area away from where people are sitting. After touching any part of this plant you must wash your hands thoroughly.

(Source: Blake, N., Wightman, G., and Williams, L. 1998. Iwaidja Ethnobotany, p. 118. NT Botanical Bulletin No. 23, Parks and Wildlife Commission, Darwin.)