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Proteaceae, Macadamia integrifolia, Macadamia nut

December 26, 2011

Below are photos of the leaf and flower of the Macadamia tree, a great sub-tropical nut crop. I took these photos on the Botanical Garden of Gabriel Howearth in the middle of the S. Baja desert where they seem to be very productive on a little bit of drip irrigation. Two of the eight known Macadamia species are edible, M. integrifolia, and M. tetraphylla. The remainder of the species produce inedible or poisonous nuts.

A grafted tree will typically take up to 7-10 years to begin producing, but will continue to produce for over a 100 years if managed correctly.

The macadamia nut originates in the sub-tropical rainforests of the east coast of Australia in Queensland and New South Wales. The nut has always been an important source of food for Australian aborigines. Modern cultivation of the nut began on Hawaii in the 30s, then in Australia in the 60s. Now it has spread to suitable climates around the world. I have seen it in Kenya and numerous areas of Mexico. I’m curious if anyone has ever tried growing it in Mediterranean climates, such as Greece.

The tree is well-suited for cultivation in Agroforestry systems, and is uses as such in Kenya, where I saw it grown with a coffee understory.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 26, 2011 10:08:56 pm

    This nut has to be one of the tastiest oil producing nuts. The oil produced is delicious. Because of our microclimate created by our position on the river and our hilly, rocky soil we have been able to grow plants and trees on our property that are from semi tropical climates. We have some Brachychiton populneus, Brachychiton acerafolia and Araucaria bidwillii growing that will add to our edible food forest. We don’t get much frost on our property and so we look forward to attempting to integrate a couple of macadamia nut trees. Thankyou for showcasing one of our finest exports. I am sure many Americans would think that Macadamia nuts are endemic to the United States.

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