The thing we normally think of a a cashew nut is really a seed. Cashews grow on short evergreen trees and are originally from South America, but now more commonly found in India, the Philippines, and Africa as well.
The accessory fruit is the oval or pear or bell-shaped structure that develops from the receptacle of the cashew flower which ripens into a yellow and/or red and delicately soft body, called cashew apple.
The nut is attached to the fruit and inside the nut is the seed, which we call a cashew nut. The seed has within itself a whole kernel and is covered by a membrane and a thick outer shell. The picture shows an upside down version of how the fruit and nut grow from the tree.
The bark of the tree is scraped and soaked overnight or boiled as an antidiarrheal and also yields a gum used in varnish. Seeds are ground into powders used for antivenom for snake bites, while the nut oil is used topically as an antifungal and for healing cracked heels.
The cashew apple is five to ten times richer in Vitamin C than an orange and may be consumed fresh, but its high tannin content yields a slightly bitter taste and dry mouth after-feel. The soft flesh packs a rather large quantity of nutritious sweet juice but with extreme astringency that puckers up the mouth.
Cashew fruit juice is popular in Brazil and the Philippines. The juice is also fermented into liquor in many countries.