Sumac family

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Sumac family
Cashew (Anacardium occidentale), "cashew nut" and "cashew apple"

Cashew ( Anacardium occidentale ),
"cashew nut" and "cashew apple"

Nuclear eudicotyledons
Eurosiden II
Order : Sapindales (Sapindales)
Family : Sumac family
Scientific name
( R.Br. ) Lindl.

The Sumac (Anacardiaceae; Engl. Cashew or sumac family ) form a plant family in the order of the soap tree-like (Sapindales). With around 70 to 82 genera and 600 to 800 species, they occur worldwide mainly in the tropics and subtropics , but sometimes also in temperate climates. Some species provide edible fruits and seeds - medicinal effects have been studied - and some are ornamental plants .

Description and ecology

Illustration by Buchanania obovata
Illustration of the red mombin plum ( Spondias purpurea )

Vegetative characteristics

They are mostly evergreen, woody plants: mostly they are independently upright trees or bushes , less often half bushes or they are lianas . Some species are herbaceous perennials . Many species have resin ducts with clear or milky resins that quickly turn black and have a typical ( turpentine ) resin odor. Wood, leaves and fruits can be aromatic or poisonous.

The usually alternate, rarely opposite or in whorls, often concentrated at the ends of branches, arranged leaves often smell aromatic. The leaf blade is undivided or often imparipinnate (exception is the paired pinnate Spondias bipinnata ). The edge of the leaves or pinnate leaves is entire. There is often black drawing on the leaves. Stipules are missing.

Inflorescences and flowers

Terminal or lateral, shamrock or panicle inflorescences are formed. The bracts are usually small, rarely large; in Dobinea they are membranous and fused with the flower stalks. The flowers are hermaphroditic or unisexual. The species can be monoecious ( monoecious ), dioecious ( dioecious ) separate sexes, gyno- dioecious or polygamomonoecan.

The relatively small flowers are radial symmetry and three to often five-fold. They have a double or single (sepalin and bract-like in Pistacia ) perianth . The bloom cladding sheets ( Dobinea ) are rarely missing . The three to five sepals are fused at the base. The three to five petals are free or rarely fused at the base. There are one ( Anacardium , Mangifera ) or two circles with five stamens each (rarely a total of twelve stamens). Either all stamens are fertile or there are one to nine staminodes . The ever slender stamens are sometimes fused at their base ( anacardium ). The anthers have four pollen sacs. It is a carpel present or two to five (rarely to six) fruit leaves are a syncarp, mostly upper constant, rarely half under constant up from constant ( Peyia , Semecarpus ) ovary grown in Dracontomelon they are not fully grown. Each ovary compartment contains an apotropic ovule . Often only one carpel is fully developed. The usually only style ends with one to five scars; sometimes three to six styles are also present ( Buchanania ). A mostly intrastaminal, nectar-producing disc is usually clearly developed. In many of the genera that are now included in this family, the flowers and inflorescences are greatly reduced. This resulted in them being run as families of their own. For example, the earlier Blepharocaryaceae have compact, involucre inflorescences, the dioecious separate-sexed Julianaceae and Podoaceae lack bracts in the female flowers. The wind-pollinated species usually lack a discus and bracts.

Infructescence, fruits, seeds and spread

Mostly stone fruits are formed, but there is a great abundance of fruit types in this family. The mechanisms of propagation are diverse. In two genera Anacardium and Semecarpus , a meaty, is edible Arillus (here called Hypokarp) formed under the stone fruit, which is formed from the fruit stem and the receptacle. Within the genus Anacardium , only Anacardium microsepalum is missing an aril ; this species thrives in water-flooded forests of the Amazon and is believed to be distributed by large fish. Water dispersal has also been reported in three other genera, Mangifera , Poupartiopsis and Spondias . To be spread by the wind, there are different adaptations, for example enlarged sepals ( Astronium , Loxostylis , Myracrodruon , Parishia ), enlarged permanent petals ( Gluta , Swintonia ), broad bracts ( Dobinea ), a wing formed from the flattened fruit axis becomes ( Amphipterygium ), and in some genera the edges of the fruits have hairs ( Actinocheita , Blepharocarya , Ochoterenaea ). Instead of stone fruits, samaras (wing nuts) are formed in some genera: in Campylopetalum , Cardenasiodendron , Dobinea , Laurophyllus , Pseudosmodingium , Smodingium , a membranous wing is formed around the entire edge of the fruit or in Faguetia , Loxopterygium , Schinopsis a wing on only one side. Amphipterygium , Orthopterygium form airworthy collective fruits (syncarpia). Dry, achenaic fruits are formed in Apterokarpos . With cotinus the infructescence with long hairy inflorescence axes is the distribution unit. These adaptations with drifting fruits seem to be associated with colonization of dry habitats . A dry fruit is formed at Dobinea . The epicarp is thin, the mesocarp is mostly fleshy, fibrous, and the endocarp is hard. The embryo is often curved.

Contact with the poison ivy ( Rhus toxicodendron , Syn .: Toxicodendron radicans ) should be avoided.

Chromosomes and ingredients

On chromosome numbers were n = 7-12, 14-16, found 21st

About a quarter of all species, but all of the subfamily Anacardioideae, contain toxic dihydroxybenzenes with long unbranched side chains that cause skin irritation if the parts of the plant are touched. The endosperm is oily and sometimes starchy.

Fossil leaf of Rhus malloryi , approximately 49.5 million years old from the Early Ypresian, in the Klondike Mountain Formation, in Ferry County, Washington, USA


Species from the Anacardiaceae family are found in dry to humid areas worldwide. Mostly they thrive in humid lowland habitats . They are mainly found in the tropics and subtropics, but some species also extend into the temperate latitudes. In the New World the distribution ranges from Canada to Patagonia , there are occurrences in Africa, southern Europe, temperate to tropical Asia, tropical to subtropical Australia and on most of the Pacific islands. There are no species of this family in Northern Europe, temperate and dry Australia, New Zealand , on the Galapagos Islands , in extreme desert areas and at high altitudes; but they reach altitudes up to 3500 meters. The center of biodiversity is Malaysia .



In 1759, Bernard de Jussieu put the genera classified here today in a subordination of an order "Terebintaceae"; his nephew Antoine Laurent de Jussieu published this classification in Genera plantarum in 1789 : secundum ordines naturales disposita, juxta methodum in Horto regio parisiensi exaratam, anno M.DCC.LXXIV (Apud Viduam Herissant et Theophilum Barrois, Paris). Robert Brown edited the same genres in 1818 in the publication by John Murray on the expedition to the Congo led by James Kingston Tuckey and the herbarium created by Christians Smith . Augustine Pyramus de Candolle published in 1824, with Robert Brown's Cassuvlae or Anacardeae, another description of this kindred with the genera Anacardium , Semecarpus , Holigarna , Mangifera , Buchanania , Pistacia , Astronium , Comocladia and Picramnia . John Lindley presented a new description of this family group in 1831 with the Anacardieae and Sumachineae, giving the name "Terebintaceae" in favor of Anacardiaceae and adding the genera Anacardium , Holigarna , Mangifera , Rhus , Mauria . The type genus is Anacardium L.

The sumac family (Anacardiaceae) comprises four subfamilies with 70 to 82 genera and about 600 to 800 species .

Subfamily Anacardioideae: Cashew ( Anacardium occidentale )
Subfamily Anacardioideae: Habitus of Bouea macrophylla
Subfamily Anacardioideae: Red variety of the wig bush ( Cotinus coggygria )
Subfamily Anacardioideae: inflorescence of Euroschinus falcata
Subfamily Anacardioideae: inflorescences and simple leaves of Lithraea caustica
Subfamily Anacardioideae: Mastic bush ( Pistacia lentiscus ) of the maquis
Subfamily Anacardioideae: Peruvian pepper tree ( Schinus molle )
Subfamily Spondioideae: Dracontomelon vitiense on Vanuatu
Subfamily Spondioideae: leaves and fruits of Harpephyllum caffrum , which is suitable as a robust houseplant.
Subfamily Spondioideae: Yellow Mombin Plum ( Spondias mombin )

Division of the family into subfamilies and their genera

According to Susan K. Pell 2004, the family is divided into two subfamilies and some tribes:

  • Subfamily Anacardioideae Link (Syn .: Blepharocaryaceae Airy Shaw , Comocladiaceae Martynov , Julianaceae Hemsley , Lentiscaceae Horan. , Pistaciaceae Adanson , Podoaceae Franchet , Schinaceae Raf. , Vernicaceae Link ): There are 58 to 60 genera:
  • Subfamily Spondioideae Link (Syn .: Spondiadaceae): There are 10 to 18 genera with about 115 species:
    • Antrocaryon Pierre : With about 2-3 species in tropical West Africa and one species in tropical America.
    • Choerospondias B.L.Burtt & AWHill : There is only one type:
    • Cyrtocarpa Kunth : The five or so species are common in the Neotropic.
    • Dracontomelon flower : The eight or so species are distributed in tropical Asia and Indomalesia to Fiji .
    • Haematostaphis Hook.f. : With about two species that occur in tropical West Africa.
    • Harpephyllum Bernh. ex C. Krauss : There is only one type:
      • Harpephyllum caffrum Bernh. ex C. Krauss : It is native to South Africa and is a widespread ornamental plant for tropical to subtropical parks and gardens, but is also a robust houseplant.
    • Koordersiodendron Engl .: With up to three species that occur in Indonesia, the Philippines and New Guinea .
    • Lannea A. Rich. : The 40 to 70 species are widespread in tropical Africa, southern and south-eastern Asia.
    • Operculicarya H.Perrier : There are about nine species, eight of which are only found in Madagascar and one is also found in the Comoros and Seychelles.
    • Pegia Colebr. : The approximately three species are distributed from the eastern Himalaya region to the Indochinese Peninsula and Kalimantan .
    • Pleiogynium Engl .: With about 2-3 species that occur in Malesia and on islands in the Pacific.
    • Poupartia Comm. ex Juss. : There are about 17 species found in tropical Africa, Madagascar and India.
    • Poupartiopsis Capuron ex JDMitch. & Daly : There is only one way:
    • Pseudospondias Engl .: With about two kinds that occur in western and tropical Africa.
    • Sclerocarya Hochst. : The only two species are found in Africa and Madagascar, including:
    • Solenocarpus Wight & Arn. (sometimes in Spondias L. ): With 1-2 species that occur in India and the Philippines.
    • Spondias L .: The ten to eleven species are common in the Neotropic and tropical Asia (e.g. Umbú ).
    • Tapirira Aubl. : With about 10 species found in tropical America.
Mango tree ( Mangifera indica ) with fruits


Some species and their varieties are grown worldwide (in the tropics). They are used to extract edible fruits and seeds, to extract spices (as is the case with gerber sumac ), as a raw material for pharmaceutical products and wood. Some species are used as ornamental plants. Known worldwide are: Mango ( Mangifera indica ), Pistachio ( Pistacia vera ), Cashew ( Anacardium occidentale ) and Brazilian pepper tree ( Schinus terebinthifolia ). Other crops are only widespread in their pantropical growing areas, such as the Spondias fruits, the Marula ( Sclerocarya birrea ) in Africa or the Antrocaryon fruits in the Neotropics . Their marketing is restricted due to their poor transportability.


Individual evidence

  1. Genera plantarum ... , 1789, pp. 368-369.
  2. Genera plantarum: secundum ordines naturales disposita, juxta methodum in Horto regio parisiensi exaratam, anno M.DCC.LXXIV
  3. James Kingston Tuckey: Observations, Systematical and Geographical, on Professor Christian Smith's Collection of Plants from the Vicinity of the River Congo in Narrative of an Expedition to Explore the River Zaire Usually Called the Congo, in South Africa, in 1816, Under the Direction of Captain JK Tuckey, RN, to Which is Added, the Journals of Professor Smith; Some General Observations on the Country and its Inhabitants; and an Appendix: Containing the Natural History of that Part of the Kingdom Congo Through Which the Zaire Flows , London.
  4. ^ Expedition ... (1818) Appendix V, pp. 430–431.
  5. Prodromus Systematis Naturalis 1824, pp. 62-66.
  6. ^ John Lindley in John Torrey: An Introduction to the Natural System of Botany: or A Systematic View of the Organization, Natural Affinities, and Geographical Distribution of the Whole Vegetable Kingdom; Together with the Uses of the Most Important Species in Medicine, the Arts and Rural or Domestic Economy , in G. & C. & H. Carvill: Natural System of Botany , New York City, pp. 125-127.
  7. Susan K. Pell: Molecular Systematics of the Cashew Family (Anacardiaceae) , PhD Thesis, 2004, Louisiana State University.
  8. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at David John Mabberley : Mabberley's Plant-Book. A portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses . 3rd ed. Cambridge University Press 2008. ISBN 978-0-521-82071-4
  9. a b c d e Anacardiaceae at In: Catalog of the Vascular Plants of Madagascar . Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
  10. a b c d Anacardiaceae in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
  11. ^ JD Mitchell, Douglas C. Daly: Cyrtocarpa (Anacardiaceae) in South America. In: Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden , Volume 78, 1991, pp. 184-189.
  12. John D. Mitchella, Douglas C. Daly, Susan K. Pellac, and Armand Randrianasolo: Poupartiopsis gen. Nov. and its Context in Anacardiaceae Classification. In: Systematic Botany , Volume 31, Issue 2, 2006, pp. 337-348.

further reading

  • JD Mitchell, SA Mori: The cashew and its relatives (Anacardium: Anacardiaceae). In: Mem. NY Bot. Gard. , 42, 1987, pp. 1-76.
  • BS Wannan: Floral structure and evolution in the Anacardiaceae. In: Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society , 107, 1991, pp. 349-85.
  • T. Terrazas: Wood anatomy of the Anacardiaceae: ecological and phylogenetic interpretation , Ph.D. dissertation, Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, 1994.

Web links

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