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H. G. Richter and M. J. Dallwitz

Anacardium excelsum (Bert. & Barb.) Skeels (Espavel)

Nomenclature etc. ANACARDIACEAE. Syn.: A. rhinocarpus. Trade and local names: espavé(l), mijao (sAm). Not protected under CITES regulations.

Description based on 6 specimens. Tree. Geographic distribution: Caribbean, or Mexico and Central America to tropical South America.

General. Heartwood basically brown to yellow (generally russet brown with a golden or reddish cast), without streaks. Sapwood colour distinct from heartwood colour (sapwood greyish white with more or less pinkish tinge). Density 0.38–0.5 g/cm³.

Vessels. Wood diffuse-porous. Vessels arranged in no specific pattern, in multiples, commonly short (2–3 vessels) radial rows. Average tangential vessel diameter 210–280 µm. Average number of vessels/mm² 1–4. Average vessel element length 280–500–790 µm. Perforation plates simple. Intervessel pits alternate, average diameter (vertical) 9–14 µm. Vessel-ray pits with reduced borders or apparently simple, rounded or angular, of uniform size or type. Helical thickenings absent. Tyloses in vessels present.

Tracheids and fibres. Fibres of medium wall thickness. Average fibre length 1000–1660 µm. Fibre pits mainly restricted to radial walls, simple to minutely bordered or distinctly bordered. Fibres septate and non-septate. Septate fibres evenly distributed. Septate fibres very infrequent; however, in some specimens tyloses in fibres can be observed which are easily mistaken for septae.

Axial parenchyma. Axial parenchyma present, not banded. Axial parenchyma paratracheal. Paratracheal axial parenchyma vasicentric, or aliform. Aliform parenchyma lozenge. Axial parenchyma as strands. Average number of cells per axial parenchyma strand 3–8.

Rays. Rays 7–8 per tangential mm, multiseriate (also if only few), 1–3 cells wide. Rays composed of two or more cell types (heterocellular). Heterocellular rays with square and upright cells restricted to marginal rows, mostly 1 marginal row of upright or square cells. Sheath cells absent.

Storied structures. Storied structure absent.

Secretory structures. Oil and mucilage cells absent. Intercellular canals absent. Laticifers or tanniniferous tubes absent.

Mineral inclusions. Crystals present, prismatic, located in ray cells. Crystal-containing ray cells upright and/or square or procumbent, upright and/or square ray cells chambered or not chambered. Number of crystals per cell or chamber one. Silica not observed.

Physical and chemical tests. Heartwood fluorescent. Water extract not fluorescent; basically colourless to brown or shade of brown. Ethanol extract fluorescent, or not fluorescent. Colour of ethanol extract yellow or shade of yellow.

Illustrations. • Transverse section. Anacardium excelsum. • Tangential section. Anacardium excelsum. • Radial section. Anacardium excelsum. • Ray-vessel pits, tyloses in fibres. Anacardium excelsum. Vessel-ray pits with reduced or absent borders, rounded. Tyloses in fibres. • Crystals in rays. Anacardium excelsum. Prismatic crystals in ray cells (chambered and non-chambered).


The interactive key allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting specified attributes, summaries of attributes within groups of taxa, and geographical distribution.

Cite this publication as: ‘Richter, H.G., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2000 onwards. Commercial timbers: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. In English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish. Version: 25th June 2009. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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