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The actual fruit is the nut, the apple is a swollen stem. Cashew apple is eaten fresh or stewed. Has a sweet-astringent taste. Nut itself is caustic until roasted. Must be roasted outdoors because fumes are irritating. Very fast growing under favorable conditions, it may fruit in container, within 2 years from seed. Tolerates very poor soil and drought, as well as salty wind.
This is the most unusual aroid, distantly related to Amorphophallus. Growing from a horizontal tuber that can measure up to 30" long by 10" across, the plant produces one huge, much-divided leaf with a stout prickly stem.
Originated from the jungles of Benin, along the west coast of Africa. The indigenous people there use the species for a variety of medicinal properties.
These unusual plants grow from a thick, slowly growing tuber, often branching, which creeps horizontally just below the soil surface. The compound leaves are up to 30 inches tall and are supported on slender spotted stems with very rose-like thorns. The fascinating leaves are an enlogated bi-lobed bat shape, often with fenestrations (window holes).
Dormant all winter when they should be kept cooler but not cold, and the soil only occasionally lightly watered until spring. Upon warming weather, they should receive abundant water and bright light, but with no strong sunlight, as this is a jungle species. Often, but not every year, they begin growth with a tall, slender flower spike which may or may not self-pollinate and eventually produce a cluster of white berries which eventually turn voilet-purple when ripe and ready for planting. Germination takes several months, usually in spring of the following year. In Florida, they need only to be planted in the ground, and can then pretty much take care of themselves, although they grow equally well in pots. When in active growth, they want abundant water.
Arisaema speciosum has medium-sized chocolate-maroon coloured spathes with white stripes arranged in a vertical fan-shape. The tip of the spathe hood is elongated and often droops down and together with the long attenuated spadix appendage gives this Arisaema one of its common names, the Double Whip Cobra Lily. Before the spathe fully opens it often resembles the beaked silhouette of a long-beaked bird.
The leaves are dramatically exotic and have three large segments that are heavily rugose underneath and margined with red.
Arisaemas resemble carnivorous plants, but in fact they attract flies and other insects as pollinators, not food. Their leaves are divided into three or more leaflets. Their fascinating "flower" a pulpit-like hooded spathe enclosing a fleshy, erect spadix usually rises in spring. Scarlet berries by late summer or autumn enclose seeds that are scattered by birds and other creatures.
They prefer a rich but well drained neutral to acid soil that does not dry out in the growing season.
The plant contains calcium oxylate crystals. These cause an extremely unpleasant sensation similar to needles being stuck into the mouth and tongue if they are eaten but they are easily neutralized by thoroughly drying or cooking the plant or by steeping it in water. Tuber - it must be thoroughly dried or cooked before being eaten. The roots are buried in masses in pits until acetous fermentation takes place, they are then dug up, washed and cooked, by which means their acrimonious principles are in part dispersed.