Cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) is the most economically important tropical nut crop in the world, and yet there are no sequence tagged site (STS) markers available for its study. Here we use an automated, high-throughput system to isolate cashew microsatellites from a non-enriched genomic library blotted onto membranes at high density for screening. Sixty-five sequences contained a microsatellite array, of which 21 proved polymorphic among a closely related seed garden population of 49 genotypes. Twelve markers were suitable for multiplex analysis. Of these, 10 amplified in all three related tropical tree species tested: Anacardium microcarpum, Anacardium pumilum and Anacardium nanum.