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Semecarpus australiensis facts for kids

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Tar tree
Semecarpus australiensis leaves SF21170.jpg
Scientific classification
Genus:
Semecarpus
Species:
australiensis

Semecarpus australiensis, commonly known as the tar tree, native cashew, or cedar plum, is a species of Australian trees that grow naturally in monsoon forests (rainforests with deciduous trees) or rainforests, from sea level to 250 m, often near the sea. It has been found in NT, Cape York, and Queensland wet tropics, Australia, Torres Strait Islands, New Guinea, New Britain, Aru Islands and additional Pacific Islands. It is related to the cashew (Anacardium occidentale).

The leaves are prominently veined, large, dark green on the upper surface, and paler underneath. Small cream-coloured flowers are followed by unusual fruits that have the seeds on the outside contained in a leathery pod attached to an orange or red fruit-like fleshy base.

Uses

Because of the extremely irritating sap, Aboriginal Australians exercise great care in preparing the seeds, including handling the fruit with hands coated in clay for skin protection. The seeds are roasted in the fire before eating, and taste similar to A. occidentale cashews.

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