The largest cashew tree in the world

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For (somewhat) up to date information about the cashew tree, visit these pages in Portuguese: Cajueiro de Natal and tourism in Natal.

The largest cashew tree in the world is found at the district of Pirangi do Norte, city of Parnamirim, Rio Grande do Norte; Pirangi is also a popular beach in Natal.

The tree covers an area of about 7500 m2, with a perimeter of about 500m. cashew treeIt was planted in 1888, by Luiz Inácio de Oliveira, a fisherman; mr. Oliveira would die years later, aged 93, resting under the shadows of the tree.

The tree grew so much because of the combination of two genetic anomalies.
First, instead of growing upwards, the branches of the tree grow sideways; because of its weight, the branches eventually bend downwards, and touch the ground.
Then, the second anomaly takes place: instead of just keep growing resting on the floor, the branches create roots and start to grow up again, as if they were new stems; this causes the impression that there are several trees, when there is actually only one.

Oops: actually, there are two cashew trees in the park; one, cashew tree with the genetic alteration, covers 95% of the park; another one, planted by the same man a few years earlier, had a normal course. It looks like Nature wanted to provide a means of comparison.

The picture above shows the main stem of the giant tree. Five branches split out off the stem; four branches carry the genetic anomaly, and created roots after touching ground. Only one of the branches had normal behaviour, and stopped growing after touching the ground; by irony, the locals dubbed this branch as "Minimum Wage" (see photo to the right).

It is estimated that, during the cropping season, the trees produce about 80 thousand cajus; visitors are free to pick the cashews, which are very rich in Vitamin C.

cashew tree Admittance to the park is R$2; money is invested towards improving the structure of the parks. Bi-lingual guides (English and Spanish spoken) are available. Outside the park, there are several kioskes selling t-shirts, handcrafts, etc. Inside the park, there is an observation point, about 6 meters high, from where one can have the tree from above.

The picture to the left shows the dimensions of the tree. The beaches in the background are the beaches of Pirangi do Norte. The pier to the left of the pic is Marina Badauê, a company which operates boat tours to the natural pools of Pirangi.

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visitors since April 5th 2005