Growing macadamia nut trees

Hardiness zone of Macadamia tree: 9-11

Planting macadamia seed

Before planting, place the macadamia seed in water for 24 hours. Then plant the seeds to a depth of 2 cm in a good drainage soil. After planting, moisten the soil. Keep the soil moist until it’s germinating. The proper temperature for germination macadamia seed is 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. In good conditions, the seeds germination for 2 to 4 weeks after planting. When the size of the seedlings reaches 10 centimeters, transfer them to larger pots. It is better to keep Macadamia seedlings indoor or in the greenhouse for the first year to not be exposed to cold Weather during the winter. Transfer the Macadamia seedlings in the ground in the late spring or early summer, after frost. The macadamia tree can growing in variety of soils, but prefer rich soils with good drainage. The slightly acidic soil is better. This tree can not withstand saltines. The Macadamia tree needs full sun, except in areas where the sun is intense, should be planted in shade-sun. Consider the distance between the Macadamia trees to 5 m and the distance between the rows of 7 m.

Watering into the Macadamia tree

The plant needs a lot of water in the first year and the soil should be kept moist (avoid wetting the soil). When the plant is well immersed in the soil, it can tolerate dryness. during the growing season, it is best to water the plant regularly to grow well, letting the soil dry out between each irrigation.

Fertilizing into the Macadamia tree

The Macadamia tree does not need fertilizer for the first year, when the plant is stabilized on a regular basis, fertilize it. fertilize to macadamia tree twice a year (spring and autumn). Use balanced fertilizers. Fish emulsions or other citrus fertilizers are suitable for Macadamia trees.

Pruning

Pruning the Macadamia tree should be done at the end of winter.

Fruiting

The Macadamia tree takes 4 to 10 years to give the fruit.

Pests and Disease

Healthy macadamia tree is usually pest free but thrips, mites and scales might attack it, but mostly they are deterred by tree itself. Use of organic pesticide is recommended in case of large infection.

Harvesting

Collect macadamia nuts when their skin begin to crack. Shell them within 24 hours of harvest to prevent mildew. Keep in mind that the hulls will be more difficult to remove once they have dried.

Macadamia integrifolia and Macadamia tetraphylla

The smooth-shelled Queensland nut, M. integrifolia, and the rough-shelled nut, M. tetraphylla, are two types of macadamia native to Australia. They are members of the large Proteaceae family that includes exotic protea flowers.

This majestic tree provides ample shade, spring blossoms, and nuts that contain deliciously smooth, sweet kernels that fetch a king’s ransom in the grocery store. In this article you will learn how to cultivate and care for macadamia in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11.

Meet the Macadamia

The macadamia is a glossy broadleaf evergreen with leaves that resemble holly, flowers ranging from pink to white, and edible nuts that ripen at random times during the growing season. Two species are grown for consumption.

Culture

This is a self-pollinating tree that does not produce “true” from seed. While you may start with seed, it could take more than 10 years for your tree to mature, and it may or may not set fruit.

Alternatively, most folks start with grafted plants to jumpstart the process and cut the maturity time in half.

While you may grow just one tree, macadamia is known for low yields, unless steps are taken to increase pollination. Nut yield is greatly facilitated by the following:

  • Planting more than one tree for cross pollination.
  • Using quality grafted trees from productive cultivars.
  • Having an ample supply of beneficial insects, particularly bees.
  • Growing lots of plants nearby that the pollinators like.

In an orchard situation, the interplanting of two or more different cultivars is recommended.

When a healthy tree reaches maturity, you can expect it to produce 30 to 50 pounds of nuts per year, topping out at 30 to 40 feet tall and almost as wide, for luxurious shade in tropical and sub-tropical locales. The older it gets, the more your tree will grow, and the more productive it becomes.

The fruit of this regal tree is a nut with a shell so hard it takes a hammer, a vise, or a specialty tool to crack it. But don’t let this deter you; it’s well worth the trouble to have your own supply of the world’s most expensive nut.

What makes them so pricey?

It’s the resources and labor involved in cultivation, which lowers supply. The macadamia requires a great deal of water, especially when young. If it doesn’t rain, a deep weekly watering is required. In addition, it can not tolerate frost or high wind, and requires protection from both.

And finally, nuts ripen at different times, requiring multiple harvests. Some “self-harvest,” falling to the ground to be scooped up. Other types must be judged ready and picked.

Their hard shells must be cracked open with great force, but without damage to the kernels inside, before being sent off for sorting, processing, packaging, and transport to market. All of this adds up!

Historical Background

Records of the Macadamia genus date to the rainforests of Australia in the 1800s. It was recognized by botanist Ferdinand von Mueller, who named the genus after a close colleague, and began to collect species belonging to it.

Later that century, the macadamia made its way to Hawaii, where it would become a commercial crop.

Over the years, numerous plants were added to the Macadamia genus, and often they were lumped under the umbrella of M. internifolia. Even my old version of Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening assigns this Latin name to the macadamia tree.

However, by 1965, the genus contained 10 species. In his article, “The Ternifolia Group of Macadamia Species,” in the journal Pacific Science, UC Riverside plant physiologist W. B. Storey built upon Mueller’s work, fine-tuning the genus and classifying just three species in the “Ternifolia group.”

Today, as the result of further advances in classification, there are just four species in the Macadamia genus:

  • M. jansenii, the Bulberin nut, an endangered species with bitter nuts.
  • M. ternifolia, the Gympi nut, an endangered species with bitter nuts.
  • M. integrifolia, the Queensland nut, a commercially-grown crop with a smooth shell and sweet nuts.
  • M. tetraphylla, the rough-shelled macadamia, a commercially-grown crop that doesn’t always have a rough shell, and has sweet nuts.

M. tetraphylla, the rough-shelled macadamia, a commercially-grown crop that doesn’t always have a rough shell, and has sweet nuts. M. integrifolia has light green new shoots and 11-inch leaves that are arranged in groups of three. M. tetraphylla has pink new shoots and 20-inch leaves that grow in groups of four.

Per the California Rare Fruit Growers San Diego Chapter, M. tetraphylla has greater heat and frost tolerance than M. integrifolia. And unlike M. integrifolia, it contains variable amounts of fat and sugar that make for color and texture variations when roasted.

When you shop, you’ll find both, as well as hybrids of the two.

Note: Botanical species names often include the name of the “author” of the species, such as M. tetraphylla L. Johnson. You may find M. integrifolia listed as M. integrifolia Maiden & Betche, as well as M. internifolia var. M. integrifolia (Maiden & Betche).

Now let’s learn to grow a macadamia tree at home!

A Note of Caution

Per the Merck Veterinary Manual, the macadamia nut contains a level of toxicity that sickens dogs.

Propagation: Tree-Starter Options

The macadamia does not produce true to seed, which means that while you may plant a ripe kernel, it won’t produce a plant that’s exactly like the parent. This is why commercial producers and nurseries who supply the public rely on cloning techniques to reproduce quality traits.

Here is a brief introduction to various propagation methods:

Air Layered Cloning

Air layering involves wrapping stripped bark in a growing medium until roots form, and then separating the new growth to plant on its own.

An air layered plant replicates the desirable traits and disease resistance of a parent plant. The labor-intensive process that this type of cloning involves commands top dollar, but gives you a jump start on the growing process.

Bud Grafting

Budding is a technique in which a “scion” with desirable traits, in this case a bud, is placed into a slit in the branch of a host tree.

Here it establishes a root system, and at the appropriate time, the “nurse” branch is removed and the new plant flourishes on its own.

This is a labor-intensive horticultural process that comes with a considerable price, for a good head start.

Grafting a Cutting

Grafting is the process of inserting scions, in this case cuttings, with desirable characteristics into sturdy rootstock.

A grafted plant offers the combination of a scion with predictable, sought-after characteristics above ground, and sturdy, disease-resistant rootstock below. Usually a “heritage” tree is used, like the ‘Hinde H2.’

It takes several years of excellent nursery care to be able to present an established, grafted plant for sale, so it’s also an expensive option that puts you ahead of the game.

Rooting a Cutting

Another way to start a tree is with a cutting from a young branch. Placing it in a potting medium enriched with a rooting hormone will encourage the wood to slowly grow roots.

Cuttings can be gathered to use for rooting or grafting.

Alternatively, you may use the cutting as a scion and graft it to sturdy rootstock.

Nurturing a Seedling

If you purchase a seedling, it will most likely be about six inches tall and have at least one set of true leaves.

Keep in mind that seedlings like this have been started from seed, and as we’ve said, results are unpredictable.

Sowing a Seed

You’ll find seed on the market, but again, results are questionable. You may also know where there’s a macadamia tree ripe for harvest in your area.

Here’s how to start from seed:

8 Steps to Sprout a Macadamia Seed

  1. If you have a freshly harvested nut, remove the outer husk to reveal the smooth, brown shell. The seed is inside. It’s the part we usually eat. Plant it right away, or place the nut in a container with some potting medium and sand, and store it in a cool, dry place for the winter.
  2. When spring arrives, remove the nut from its winter home and place it in water for two days to encourage sprouting.
  3. Prepare a well-draining pot at least a foot deep with a moisture-retaining potting medium.
  4. Make a hole in the potting medium that’s twice as deep as the kernel is thick.
  5. Note the raised ridge on the kernel. Place the kernel in the hole with the ridge parallel to the soil surface, or sideways. Cover loosely with soil.
  6. Water well and maintain even moisture by watering deeply once a week. This means watering until it begins to run out the bottom of your container, waiting a few minutes, then watering again until it runs out.
  7. Place your potted seed on a seed-warming tray, or in a sunny window.
  8. Be patient, as it may take a number of months to achieve a viable seedling.

Planting for Success

With the information outlined above, you’re ready to shop online or at your local plant nursery. If your goal is to produce substantial crop yields, I recommend starting with grafted plants with known characteristics and a proven track record.

Now, let’s find out what to do with a fledgling macadamia.

Like all nut trees, the macadamia begins the cycle of fruit production by flowering.

Like the avocado, macadamia grows well in Hawaii, Florida, California, and the southernmost regions of Texas, where the soil is deeply fertile, well-draining, and slightly acidic; the rainfall is abundant; and there’s little danger of frost.

Choose a location with full sun to partial shade that is not vulnerable to high winds, as the branches of this tree are somewhat brittle. Plan for a mature height of up to 50 feet, and a branch spread of up to 40 feet.

Soil Testing

Macadamia has a “proteoid” root system comprised of compact root clusters that take up nutrients with great efficiency. You would be wise to have your soil tested by your local extension service to determine its acidity and nutrient content. Amend the soil as needed, to achieve a pH of roughly 5.5 to 6.5.

Remediation of the three essential macro-nutrients, NPK, may be recommended.

Nitrogen (N) is difficult to measure, as it is changeable, and will be addressed in the growing section below. Phosphorous (P) is a non-essential for this tree, as it grows in phosphorus-deficient soil in Australia and Hawaii. So, the only macro-nutrient you may need to address is potassium (K).

There may also be micronutrient (copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, zinc, nickel, and chloride) deficiencies to address. These may be managed with foliar sprays during the growing season.

Planting Seed, Seedlings, Cuttings, and Nursery Stock

The time to start thinking about planting that seed you’ve overwintered, or a nursery seedling, cutting, or rootstock, is in January. By the onset of spring, you should have your macadamia in the ground.

If you’re growing a tree from seed, nurture it until you have true leaves and a stem that’s roughly six inches tall.

Be sure to provide adequate drainage, as pooled water may cause oversaturation, resulting in “damping off,” a condition in which the stem rots and the plant collapses and dies.

Transplant your homegrown or store-bought seedling to the yard, placing it into deeply worked soil. Be sure to maintain the same planting depth as the seedling experienced in the pot, for a smooth transition.

Alternatively, if you master the art of grafting, you may implant your seedling into quality rootstock.

If you are starting with a cutting purchased or received from a friend, you’ll want to encourage it to form strong roots. Dip it into a rooting hormone and plant it in a deep container of potting medium. When substantial growth is evident, transfer your successfully rooted cutting to the yard.

And if you are planting nursery stock that is well underway, get it into the ground as soon as possible after purchase. Place bare rootstock in a bucket of water until you’re ready for it.

Work the soil to a friable consistency, digging down at least twice as deep as the nursery container, and across twice as wide, to provide ample room for macadamia’s extensive root system.

Unpot your plant and work it into the soil. Keep the pot soil level even with the ground level. For bare rootstock, set the root crown just below the ground soil surface.

Settle your plant in, working dirt around it for support, and tamping down firmly to fill air holes. Make a collar of dirt about two feet out to help with moisture retention.

If you choose to plant several trees, consider their mature dimensions, and add a minimum of 25 additional feet between each, to allow for adequate air circulation and root expansion.

Watering Requirements

The most crucial requirement for macadamia, especially in the sapling stage, is abundant water that drains well. Per the Macadamia Nut Grower’s Handbook published by the Queensland Government, a mature tree can use up to 350 liters, or about 92 gallons, of water per week in hot, dry weather.

Water freshly sown plants deeply, tamping down the soil a second time to remove any remaining air pockets, and maintain evenly moist soil until your plant begins to grow. Then, in the absence of a drenching rain, water weekly year-round.

Fertilizing

It is not necessary to fertilize macadamia at the time of planting. The California Rare Fruit Growers say you should wait about six months after planting outdoors, then apply a balanced fertilizer that contains 1% nitrogen or less, as is appropriate for a slow-growing plant.

A fish emulsion or citrus mix is best, applied per package instructions, usually in fall and winter.

Other folks recommend avoiding phosphorous (K), a nutrient that is deficient in macadamia’s native Australia.

As your tree matures, you may conduct additional testing of your soil and the leaves of your tree to determine if you have an appropriate nutrient balance.

Depending upon the cultivar and how far along your plant is when you get it, your tree should start bearing fruit at about age 6 or 7.

8 Pro Care Tips

Congratulations! You have just planted your first macadamia. Now, here are some insider care tips:

  1. Protect a young tree from damaging wind and/or frost by draping it with plastic sheeting when weather reports warrant it. Use stakes to aid with stability while tender roots take hold. Wind protection is essential while nuts are forming, or they may drop prematurely.
  2. Limit companion planting to shallow-rooted cover crops, as deep-rooted plants will disturb the tree’s fragile roots and compete for essential nutrients. A plant like clover aids in moisture retention and aeration, while adding essential nitrogen to the soil.
  3. Keep the area beneath your tree free of debris, as it may invite insects and rodents seeking shelter. Pull weeds to reduce competition for water.
  4. While planting deep-rooted plants too close to your tree is ill-advised due to its fragile and extensive root system, filling your nearby gardens with flowers that attract pollinators will increase your chances of achieving a flavorful and abundant fruit harvest.
  5. A mature tree may withstand drought conditions temporarily, but a severe lack of water will take a toll on harvest quality and quantity.
  6. In the fall, after harvest time, apply a layer of coconut coir mulch to aid in moisture retention and keep weeds at bay. Be sure to keep it at least a foot away from the trunk.
  7. When you fertilize in fall and winter, be sure to apply it in a circle beneath the tree’s “drip line.” This is the perimeter below the outermost leaves. With this technique, you’ll avoid burning the bark on the trunk. This is especially important to protect the stems of saplings.
  8. As your tree matures, prune it in late winter, just before spring. This allows sunlight to penetrate, and encourages a growth habit characterized by one central stem with protruding horizontal branches. Prune trees that don’t self-harvest (drop fruit), and those planted in containers, to a manageable height.

Cultivars to Choose

The species of the Macadamia genus have changed little over the past 200 years or so, since von Mueller identified the first.

Today’s clones replicate their best qualities, plus improved features such as increased disease resistance and narrower growth habits. With pruning, some are quite suitable for deep pots.

Here are the highlights of 7 cultivars you’re likely to find on the market:

Beaumont

‘Beaumont’ is a hybrid from Australia, a cross between M. tetraphylla and M. integrifolia. It has a growth habit that’s more upright than spreading. The blossoms are an especially showy pink and the nuts are medium to large in size.

The fruiting season is long, but it is not uncommon for some nuts to crack and spoil before falling. This cultivar is highly recommended for the home garden.

Cate

M. tetraphylla ‘Cate’ originated in California. This rough-shelled cultivar is an aggressive grower with a thin shell and more frost hardiness than some.

The fruiting season is short, with medium to large nuts. This is a self-harvesting variety.

Dorado

M. integrifolia ‘Dorado’ originated in Hawaii and has an upright growth habit and medium height.

It’s known for producing an abundance of nuts in as few as five years, as well as its resistance to cold weather.

James

M. integrifolia ‘James’ originated in California and is known for being “precocious,” or a vigorous grower that produces in as few as three years.

It’s a tall species with a column profile that produces self-harvesting medium-sized nuts.

Keaau

M. integrifolia ‘Keaau’ originated in Hawaii. It produces a generous quantity of medium-sized nuts with shells that are somewhat thinner than others.

This is a fairly vigorous tree with an upright growth habit.

Vista

‘Vista’ is a hybrid that originated in California. It grows to medium size in a pyramid shape.

Pink blossoms precede an ample supply of small to medium nuts with shells thin enough to crack with a standard nutcracker. Enjoy self-harvesting in about three years.

Waimanalo

M. integrifolia ‘Waimanalo’ originated in Hawaii, and produces clusters of thick-shelled nuts so large, they sometimes halve to form twins.

Trees are more resistant to frost and disease than some, and are medium-sized with a pyramid shape. This is an excellent producer that bears fruit in about five years.

Managing Pests and Disease

In the continental United States, M. integrifolia and M. tetraphylla are not prone to pests and diseases.

Some pests, like the dreaded macadamia nut borer or Botrytis blossom blight, live in the tree’s native Australia, and are not a problem here in the US. However, a tree may become vulnerable, especially in the event of weather extremes, or over- or under-watering.

Signs of trouble include discolored, disfigured, or dropping leaves; scarred bark; and prematurely dropping fruit. And while some pests may make your tree their home, the damage they cause may not be extensive enough to cause large-scale damage to your tree or crop.

The following are some of the pests and diseases you may encounter while cultivating M. integrifolia:

Bacteria and Fungus

When a tree suffers an injury, like a cut from a weed wacker, it may develop a “canker,” or a wound that is vulnerable to bacterial and fungal colonization. One such fungus is Phytophthora ramorum, which causes cankers to bleed sap and foliage to die.

Another fungus is Anthracnose, or Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, which causes dark lesions on leaves and husks that may (or may not) affect the kernels inside.

Botrytis cinereal, aka blossom or raceme blight, causes flowering stems, or racemes, to become moldy and die.

Deer and Rodents

This is not a deer-resistant plant, so be sure to protect tender young shoots from their voracious nibbling.

In addition, fallen fruit attracts rodents that won’t hesitate to feast upon them if they’re not promptly gathered.

Sap-Sucking Insects

Various types of mites that are present in the garden may feed on the soft leaf and stem tissue of trees weakened by lack of water or disease.

Scale is not a condition, but rather, an insect that damages branch material by literally sucking the life out of it.

Thrips feed on leaves, transmitting disease from plant to plant.

Sharpshooter insects carry Xylella fastidiosa bacteria and damage a plant’s ability to take up water, leading to conditions such as chlorosis and leaf scorch.

And several types of stinkbug have made their way to the United States from elsewhere, feeding on plant tissue and developing kernels.

Contact your local extension service if you suspect pests or disease. They can evaluate your foliage and make appropriate recommendations.

Harvesting Basics

Your first harvest is certain to be an exciting event!

All blossoms don’t produce nuts, but those that do set hefty green husks of about one inch in diameter that turn brown and begin to crack open when ripe.

Inside is a brown nut shell containing an edible kernel. Depending upon the variety or varieties you choose, they will ripen at any time from late fall through spring.

It may be tempting to shake your tree’s branches to make ripe fruit fall, but don’t, because you may also shake down unripe ones, and damage fragile branches.

Some folks place tarps beneath their trees to catch falling fruit, however, this may not be wise for two reasons: it impedes water penetration to the roots, and it retains rainwater that may rot ripe nuts that have fallen.

Macadamia is a unique nut that ripens continuously during the fruiting season, requiring multiple harvests. As mentioned earlier, some varieties self-harvest, falling to the ground for easy retrieval. Others must be gathered by hand off the branches; although they do drop to the ground, they don’t all drop at the same time as do those of cultivars in the self-harvesting group.

Get detailed instructions on harvesting here.

Preserving

Post-harvest, proper preservation and storage are essential to protect your crop from spoiling before you’re ready to use it.

The University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources recommends the following:

6 Steps to Dry and Roast Macadamia

  1. Remove the outer husks and place nuts on a screen no more than two deep.
  2. Air dry for two to three weeks in a cool, dry location, to loosen kernels from their shells.
  3. Use a vise or specialty nut cracker to crack the nutshells and remove the kernels.
  4. Dry the kernels in a food dehydrator or the oven at a temperature of 100°F, increasing to 140°F after about two days. For best results, don’t rush this process. Kernels are sufficiently dry when crisp to the bite.
  5. At this point, you may roast the kernels, store them in airtight jars, or freeze them for future use.
  6. Roast kernels on a wire rack in a single layer in a 275°F oven until golden. Be sure to keep a close eye on them, so they don’t burn.

The Encyclopedia of Country Living advises that nuts in shells that are protected from heat and light will keep for one year. Shelled nuts in tightly closed containers keep for several months in the fridge. And you may freeze shelled or unshelled kernels for up to two years.

Macadamia Quick Reference Growing Chart

Plant Type: Nut tree Maintenance: Low
Native To: Australia Soil Type: Prefers loamy and fertile
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 9-11 (subtropical-tropical) Soil pH: Slightly acidic, 5.5-6.5
Season: Year round Soil Drainage: Well-draining
Sun: Full sun to part shade Companion Planting: Cover crops like clover to aerate, facilitate water penetration, and add nitrogen over plant roots; flowering plants outside root zone to attract pollinators
Time to Maturity: 50-60 days, depending on cultivar Family: Proteaceae
Spacing: 25 feet minimum Subfamily: Grevilleoideae
Planting Depth: Same depth as nursery pot, set bare root crown just below the soil surface Genus: Macadamia
Water Needs: Moderate to high Species: M. integrifolia, M. tetraphyll
Tolerance: Mature trees moderately drought tolerant; new cultivars moderately tolerant of frost
Pests & Diseases: Some varieties of bacteria and fungi, deer, rodents, and sap-sucking insects may pose a threat to stressed and vulnerable trees

Recipe Suggestions

Per the NCBI US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, while the macadamia contains a whopping 76% fat, its fatty acid composition is beneficial. This is because the saturated portion is low, and the monounsaturated is high, making it a “MUFA-rich” food (Mono-Unsaturated-Fatty-Acid).

It’s also an excellent source of protein that contains essential amino acids, calcium, dietary fiber, magnesium, and potassium. Consumption may contribute benefits to cardiovascular and nervous system health.

Macadamias are delicious raw or roasted, and they’re heavenly in chocolate chip cookies! Don’t hesitate to substitute this delectable nut for walnuts in recipes like Whole Wheat Bread Pudding and Sugar and Spice Candied Nuts, found on our sister site, Foodal.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you may even try your hand at cold-pressing, to extract flavorful oil for use in cooking, fresh dressings, and hand-crafted body lotions.

And macadamia nut milk makes a delicious dairy-free treat to add to your coffee.

Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut with Fresh Herbs and Coconut Sauce

Are you looking for an easy but elegant seafood dish to prepare for a dinner party?

Photo by Meghan Yeager.

This macadamia nut crusted halibut will fit the bill! Flaky and moist fish with a crispy exterior, and drizzled in a smooth herbed coconut sauce, this dish will transport you to a warm and breezy Pacific island.

Get the recipe now on Foodal.

Soft and Chewy White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies

These white chocolate macadamia nut blondies are super easy to make and require minimal prep work. The classic cookie is transformed into a chewy, soft, and luxurious treat that your friends and family will think you’ve spent ages preparing.

This one will soon become your go-to dessert for potlucks, gatherings, and anytime you feel like indulging.

Get the recipe now on Foodal.

Form, Function, and Fabulous

If you can’t resist the flavor of the exotic macadamia, it’s definitely time to grow your own.

Imagine its branches casting glorious shade, blossoming in spring, and providing you with sweet, creamy nuts for mouth-watering desserts. And what will your friends say, when you share your gourmet stash with them?!

Adding a tree to your outdoor living space is not only a beautiful choice, but one that provides habitat for wildlife, like the songbirds and beneficial insects that call your yard home. And when that tree also puts food on the table, it just doesn’t get any better.

Happy gardening!

If you found this guide valuable, here are some more informative articles you may enjoy:

  • Olives are Easy to Grow
  • Guide to Growing Avocados
  • Why You Should Plant Mexican White Oak
  • With a Bit of Patience, Here’s How You Can Yield Masses of Pecans

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About Nan Schiller

Nan Schiller is a writer with deep roots in the soil of southeastern Pennsylvania. Her background includes landscape and floral design, a BS in business from Villanova University, and a Certificate of Merit in floral design from Longwood Gardens. An advocate of organic gardening with native plants, she’s always got dirt under her nails and freckles on her nose. With wit and hopefully some wisdom, she shares what she’s learned and is always ready to dig into a new project!

Macadamia Nut Stock Photos and Images

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  • Macadamia nuts spilling out of can
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  • Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation, Hilo, Big Island, Hawaii, United States.
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  • A fair trade producer performs a quality check float test on a farmer’s macadamia nut harvest in Kirinyaga County, Kenya.
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  • A red label for a Macadamia nut tree, printed in all CAPS. Tropical fruit and nut. Only the sign is visible in this photograph.
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  • macadamia nut mud pie, Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach, Santa Barbara, California, United States of America
  • Traditional Hawaiian tuna poke
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  • Macadamia nuts for sale in the market of Wuring fishing village near Maumere on Flores island, Indonesia.
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  • Fresh macadamia nut cookies in a tray ready to bake. At back there is some ingredients such as flour, eggs. The cookies are on an oven paper to keep t
  • Aerial of macadamia nut plantation near Childers Queensland Australia
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Australian Macadamias

History of the macadamia

The story of the macadamia began millions of years ago, in the rainforest along the north east coast of Australia.

Before European settlement, Aboriginal people congregated on the eastern slopes of Australia’s Great Dividing Range to feed on the seed of two evergreen trees, one of which they called ‘Kindal Kindal’ which was the macadamia. Aboriginal peoples had other names for macadamia including Boombera, Jindill & Baupal.

Macadamias were not staple fare; they were considered a delicacy and were treasured and collected wherever they were found. They were also traded between tribes and used as special ceremonial gifts at inter-tribal corroborees.

Aboriginal women would collect macadamias in their coolamons or dilly bags and take them to their feasting grounds. They would remove the husk and crack the shells using stones with special indentations. This technique involved placing the flat indented stone over the nut and then striking it with a larger stone, delivering an even force and minimising the damage to the kernel.

It wasn’t until the 1850s that Australian macadamia trees attracted the attention of European botanists Walter Hill and Ferdinand Von Meuller when they were struck with the majestic beauty of the trees they found growing in the rainforests of Queensland.

While the first plantation was established in the 1880s, it wasn’t until the development of successful grafting techniques and the introduction of mechanical processing that commercial production of the tough nut became feasible. Macadamia enthusiast Norm Gerber pioneered the grafting techniques that enabled the development of our commercial industry, and he is often referred to as the founding father of the Australian macadamia industry.

The macadamia legend

Australia’s Aboriginal people had a special legend that explained the origins of the macadamia. The following is the legend as re-told in January 1993 by Olga Miller, the senior Elder of the Butchella Tribe of Fraser Island.

The Legend of the Baphal
Way back in THE FIRST TIME when Yindingie our Messenger God was leaving the Mountain, the Budjilla people had to decide who was to look after our Land.There was someone to go to Burrum Heads to look after the north and someone to look after the south at Inskip Point. When it came to looking after the Mountain, nobody wanted to really leave and go to a far away place, so a man called Baphal said he would go.

So Baphal packed for his long journey and unbeknown to him his friend the jewel lizard stowed away in his pack. He had walked a long way, all the time he could see the Mountain in the distance. Finally he reached the Mountain and set up camp, when out jumped the little jewel lizard. Baphal said to him what are you doing here? The little lizard said I did not want to leave you so I hid in your pack and came with you.

One day when Baphal was walking along he fell and hurt his foot – he could not get to food and water. The little lizard could see that Baphal was hurt, so he went to the rock wallaby to ask him what to do. The rock wallaby said, we have to get him some water. So they got Baphal’s eelamun and hurried to the water, but when they got there, the rock wallaby could not reach. So he took the eelamun to the kangaroo and the kangaroo filled up the eelamun with water and gave it back to the rock wallaby who with the lizard gave it to Baphal.

Then the lizard said we have to get him some food. The rock wallaby said we should ask the cockatoo. So the cockatoo flew out and collected some nuts and scattered them around the mountain so Baphal could have food.

Then the rock wallaby and the lizard decided that Baphal needed help from his people so they made a fire and asked the cockatoo to get some leaves. The cockatoo flew out once again and collected some green leaves from the nut tree, and this created smoke. Well our people on the Island seen the smoke and they sent help to Baphal.

When our people saw what happened they called the Mountain, Baphal’s Mountain. When our people seen the lizard they called him Baphal’s lizard. When our people seen the nuts they call them Baphal’s nuts.

Why are Island Princess 100% Hawaiian Macadamia Nuts so special?
* The Macadamia Nut industry was started and developed in Hawaii, setting the ” gold standard” for quality and taste for the rest of world.

* Through years of agricultural research through the University of Hawaii the “perfect” macadamia nut trees were developed which produce that special delicate flavor and crunch of the Hawaiian varieties. Our trees were developed specifically to thrive in small-integrated farms where nuts ripen naturally and fall to the ground for harvesting. Each macadamia nut is valuable and is treated with respect.

* Island Princess Hawaii-grown Macadamia Nuts are farmed under strict laws and controls, as required by USA farming laws, to insure that the quality and purity of the Macadamia Nuts are maintained. No insecticides are used.

* Hawaii-grown Macadamia Nuts are harvested and processed year round, and therefore are naturally fresher products than those coming from industrial farms in countries such as Australia and South Africa where macadamia nuts are harvested once a year and may be in warehouse storage for extended periods.

* Foreign (outside of Hawaii) grown macadamia nuts are not necessarily grown under controlled farming methods, which may include wide variations in fertilization techniques, use of pest control chemicals, harvesting and storing methods.

* Island Princess Hawaii-grown Macadamia Nuts are processed, roasted and packed under rigid USA food laws. Foreign grown macadamia nuts are processed under a wide variety of standards which could affect the quality and integrity of the final products.

* Island Princess Macadamia Nuts have a perfect balance of natural sweetness and satisfying buttery oils since they are grown in conditions unique to Hawaii: an optimum combination of volcanic soil, tropical temperatures, and rainfall, much like the special environmental conditions that are required to produce premium Kona coffee beans. Hawaii’s environment produces macadamia nuts of the perfect taste and texture that makes them an ideal mate to fine chocolate or a sensational addition to any main course!

Why They Are Called Macadamia Nuts

Born in May of 1827 in Northbank, near Glasgow, Scotland, John MacAdam (Macadam) was a brilliant young scientist in the fields of chemistry and medicine who emigrated to Melbourne, Australia soon after his graduation from Glasgow University.

In 1858, John MacAdam was appointed the Victorian Government Analytical Chemist and in 1860 became the Health Officer for the City of Melbourne. He also served as a member of the Legislative Assembly and the Executive Council of Victoria. MacAdam was the first lecturer to teach at the University of Melbourne School of Medicine, offering his initial lecture in chemistry on March 3, 1862.

In spite of his many scientific accomplishments however, he did not “discover” the tree that bears his name.

It was John MacAdam’s good friend, fellow scientist and colleague, Baron Ferdinand Heinrich von Mueller (June 30, 1825 – October 10, 1896), a well-respected physician, geographer and most notably, a botanist serving as Director of the Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, who upon identifying and classifying the tree, named it in honor of MacAdam.

Scientific Classification: Kingdom: Plantae | Division: Magnoliophyta | Class: Magnoliopsida | Order: Proteales | Family: Proteaceae | Genus: Macadamia | Species: macadamia integrifolia and macadamia tetraphylla

Facts on Macs

The macadamia tree is related to the protea family. Virtually all of Hawaii’s macadamia nuts come from the Big Island of Hawaii. Hawaii was the site of the world’s first commercial macadamia nut farm. A sugar plantation manager named William H. Purvis introduced the macadamia to Hawaii in the late 1800’s.

Macadamia nuts are not picked from the tree but are harvested when the nuts have fallen to the ground-a sign that they are fully ripe. A typical macadamia tree in an orchard may take seven years to begin producing and will not attain full production until it is 10 to 12 years old.

Generally, a single tree can produce approximately 65 pounds of nuts each year. Once harvested, the nuts must be husked within 24 hours.

A tough nut to crack! It takes 300 pounds per square inch to break the shell of a macadamia nut-the hardest of all nut shells.

Hawaii has more than 700 macadamia nut farms and 8 processing plants. The industry employs some 3,000 workers statewide.

Hawaiian Moment

Honolulu Star Bulletin – Sunday, May 23, 2004 By: Robert C. Schmitt for The Hawaiian Historical Society

Macadamia nuts, native to Australia, were first planted in Hawaii around 1881. William Purvis, the young manager of the Pacific Sugar Mill at Kukuihaele on The Big Island, planted seed nuts that year at Kapulena. Eleven years later, the Jordan brothers successfully planted some seeds at their home in Nuuanu. The nuts soon became popular with Hawaii residents, but they were not planted commercially until 1921. In that year, Ernest VanTassel leased government land on Round Top and planted it with seeds from the Jordan and Purvis trees. Then, in 1922, he formed the Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Co., Ltd. Other planters quickly followed, establishing macadamia nut farms on Oahu, The Big Island and elsewhere. Commercial processing of macadamia nuts began in 1934 at VanTassel’s new factory in Kakaako. The nuts were shelled, roasted, salted, bottled and marketed there as “Van’s Macadamia Nuts.” Macadamia nut candies became commercially available a few years later. Two well-known confectioners, Ellen Dye Candies and the Alexander Young Hotel candy shop, began making and selling chocolate-covered macadamia nuts in the middle or late 1930’s.

Healthy Facts on Macs

* Macadamia nuts are high in monounsaturated fatty acid (“good” fat), which can help reduce overall cholesterol levels. Eighty percent of fat in macadamia nut oil is monounsaturated – six percent higher than olive oil, with 74 percent.

* Macadamia nuts contain flavonoids (a phytochemical) and tocopherols (vitamin E), which are potent antioxidants and can aid against cancer and heart disease.

* Unsalted macadamia nuts contain no cholesterol and are low in sodium and saturated fats.

* Macadamia nuts are high in minerals and are part of a healthy diet.

* One ounce, approximately 11 macadamia nuts, has two grams of protein.

* Macadamia nuts contain vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and iron.

* Macadamia nuts are one of the few foods that contain palmitoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. In a recent study, indicators suggest the palmitoleic acid may actually aid in fat metabolism, possibly reducing stored body fat.

* Macadamia nut oil contains Omega 3, known to reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.

* A study conducted at the University of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of Medicine in 2000 and published in the prestigious Archives of Internal Medicine, reports that eating macadamia nuts can have a positive effect on blood cholesterol levels.

* The report indicates that a relatively high fat diet – where much of the fat content comes from the monounsaturated fats in macadamia nuts – reduces overall cholesterol levels and improves the critical HDL/LDL cholesterol balance.

The results of the study also confirm that macadamia nuts have nutritional and dietary benefits equal to or better than olive oil and other tree nuts.

A Brief History of Macadamia Nuts

Originating in Australia, the first macadamia tree was planted on the Big Island in 1881 by William Purvis. The Jordan brothers followed up with their own trees in 1892. Known for their sweet, rich flavor, macadamia nuts quickly became popular among sugar barons who came to the Islands to start the sugar industry.

Ernest Van Tassel, of the Hawai’i Macadamia Nut Company, began commercial planting of the nuts in 1921. After facing many adversities in growing healthy trees, Van Tassel was finally able to begin processing the nuts in 1934.

Fun fact: on average, modern macadamia trees take 5-8 years to fruit.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until the late-1940’s that some major players of Hawaii’s “Big Five” companies, who dominated Hawaii’s economy through sugar production, started to take notice of the macadamia nut game. In 1946, Castle & Cooke, renowned as owners of the Dole Pineapple Company, planted their first orchard, which would later produce the macadamia nuts of Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp. Soon after, C. Brewer and Co. Ltd. began investing in macadamia orchards, and would later buy Castle & Cooke’s orchard in 1976, at which point they started marketing under the well-known Mauna Loa brand.

Today, 90% of all the macadamia nuts are harvested in Hawaii.

Macadamia nuts are one of the most popular items that people take back to the mainland and are truly a local treasure. How do you prefer your macadamia nuts? Plain, spiced, chocolate covered or something else?

By the way, did you know that you can now save $10/person on our Maui Princess Dinner Cruise or a Snorkel Adventure to the island of Lanai? Well you can! Just use the promo code VIP20 after clicking on this link: Hawaii Ocean Project Adventures.

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Macadamia
Other Names: Smooth-Shell Macadamia Nut,
Queensland Nut

GENERAL CROP INFORMATION

This summary was prepared from publications by
Bittenbender, H. C. and H. H. Hirae and
Yokoyama, K. M., et. al.

FAMILY: Proteaceae SCIENTIFIC NAME: Macadamia integrifolia Maiden and Betche ORIGIN: Subtropical Eastern Australia

DESCRIPTION Back To: Menu Bar
Neal (1965) describes the macadamia nut tree as a fast growing, regular-shaped, medium-sized tree with heavy, dark green foliage. Leaves develop in whorls of three, paired, or in fours. The leaves are rarely solitary. The leaves are blunt tipped, oblong, 1 foot in length or more, edged with fine teeth, and the petioles are about half an inch in length. The flowers are small, whitish, tasseled, and grow on long spikes. The nuts ripen in the fall, both the spring and fall, or through the year. The nut is encased in a leathery two valved case that is 1 inch in diameter. The case encloses one spherical nut or two hemispherical nuts. The nuts have a smooth hard shell that encases a white kernel.
The highest quality macadamia kernels are free of defects and insect and fungal damage, and they contain at least 72% oil. Kernels with less than 72% oil are usually immature and harder, and they become over brown when roasted.
VARIETIES Back To: Menu Bar
Considerable research has gone into selection and breeding of the best cultivars for Hawaii. The College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) recommends the following cultivars: Purvis (294), Kau (344), Kakea (508), Keaau (660), Mauka (741), Pahala (788), and Makai (800). Donnison (790) performs well at elevations below 500 feet.
USES Back To: Menu Bar
The kernel is the main product from the macadamia nut tree. After harvesting, the husks covering the nuts are removed. The nuts are fried, the shells are cracked, and the kernels are removed to be oil-roasted or dry-roasted. Kernels are commonly sold as snack nuts and chocolate-covered candy. Ice cream manufacturers and the baking industry also use macadamia kernels as an ingredient.
The shell and husk also have uses. Shells can be used as a mulch, fuel for processing macadamia nuts, planting medium for anthurium culture, plastic manufacture and as a substitute for sand in the sand-blasting process. Husks are used as mulch or composted for fertilizer.
Oil can be extracted from culled nuts. The cosmetic industry, especially in Japan, uses the oil in soaps, sunscreens and shampoos. The remaining press cake might be used for animal feed.
A one ounce oil-roasted macadamia nut (approximately 10-12 whole kernels) has 204,000 calories, 21.73 grams of fat, 2.06 grams of protein, 3.66 grams of carbohydrates, 13 milligrams of calcium, 33 milligrams of magnesium, 57 milligrams of phosphorus, 94 milligrams of potassium, and 2 milligrams of sodium.
PROPAGATION Back To: Menu Bar
In Hawaii, commercial orchards are planted with grafted seedlings. Macadamia nut trees can start bearing a small crop in the fifth year after planting, and full production is reached in 12 to 15 years.
SOIL TYPES and LOCATION Back To: Menu Bar
Macadamia nut trees can be grown on deep, well-drained soils with a pH of 5.0-6.5 or on well-drained a’a lava land that is sufficiently weathered to support natural vegetation. The trees require 60-120 inches of rainfall a year and can be grown from sea level to an elevation of 2500 feet.
A major concern is strong wind, which can cause severe tree loss. Narrow-profile cultivars, such as Kau and Pahala, are more wind resistant than others.
CULTURAL PRACTICES Back To: Menu Bar
Interplanting with two cultivars, such as 344 and 660, improves yield through cross-pollination. Beehives near the orchard can generate additional revenue through honey production. Another possibility is the integration of animals. MacFarms of Hawaii and CTAHR are experimenting with sheep as natural lawn mowers to reduce herbicide use and weeding costs. Sheep products also provide an income.
Intercropping macadamia nuts with quicker bearing crops is one way to generate early returns. In Kona on the Big Island, coffee is sometimes grown between macadamia nut trees. An alternative is to increase the initial planting density to get higher total production in the early years. In Australia, for example, some yields peaked at 8000 lb/ac in high-density plantings before competition for light caused a decline. Tree removal or radical pruning to improve light penetration is necessary.
FERTILIZATION Back To: Menu Bar
Semiannual leaf tissue analysis is recommended to determine the best fertilizer practice for your orchard and to prevent nutritional problems. If you have never taken a leaf or soil sample, consult with an extension agent or fertilizer representative before beginning. If your orchard appears normal, a sample from one tree per acre is adequate. Collect a leaf sample before trees produce new leaves, generally during February and March or before fertilizing in September or October. Pick three to four branches where the bud at the tip of the branch is just opening and beginning to grow. Do not choose branches with buds with long, hard red scales called false flushes. These will not open for months. At the proper stage, buds will have three small pale green leaves and look like a claw. Pick one healthy leaf from the second node (whorl) of leaves below the bud. Fifteen leaves from four to five trees are needed for each sample submitted for analysis. The samples should be placed in plastic bags and labeled with your name, date of sampling, and sample number.
HARVESTING Back To: Menu Bar
Macadamia nuts are harvested manually after they have fallen. In Hawaii, the nuts typically drop 8-9 months of the year from July to March. Large-scale producers also employ mechanical sweepers and pickup devices on relatively even land to offset the high cost of agricultural labor in Hawaii. CTAHR developed a tractor-mounted pickup device for smaller orchards. Nuts should be harvested at least every four weeks when the weather is rainy and less often in dry weather. This is to prevent losses from mold, germination, and pig or rat damage.
POSTHARVEST Back To: Menu Bar
Never store unhusked nuts more than one day in a bag or box. It is best to husk the nuts immediately and air dry them or take them to the processor the next day. If the nuts were picked and cannot be husked nor delivered to the processor, then the in-husk nuts should be dried. The in-husk nuts should be spread on a wire or slotted rack out of the rain and direct sun.
DISEASES Back To: Menu Bar
Macadamia root rot – Kretzschmaria clavis
Trunk canker – Phytophthora cinnamomi
Dieback or slow decline – disease infection in trunk or root, prolonged drought, anaerobic conditions caused by compaction or poor drainage, poor root structure caused by planting root bound trees, toxic chemicals from herbicides or overapplication or uneven application of fertilizers, or nutritional problems
Macadamia quick decline (MQD) – unknown stress factors (Waterlogged soil, low pH, nutritional problems, and fungal and stem rots are suspected stress factors with ambrosia beetle attacks hastening the tree decline. The fungi Xylaria and Nectria are frequently associated with MQD.)
Flower blights – Phytophtora capsici or Botrytis cinerea with Cladosporium usually secondary or affecting raceme tips
Premature nut drop – most premature drop is normal, environmental stress may cause more premature drop than normal
INSECTS Back To: Menu Bar
Ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus affinis)
Broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus)
Longhorned grasshopper (Conocephalus saltator)
Narrow-winged katydid (Elimaea punctifera)
Southern green stink bug (Nezara viridula)
Koa seed worm (Crytophlebia illepida)
Macadamia shot borer (Hypothenemus obscurus)
Hawaiian flower thrips (Taenothrips hawaiiensis)
Redbanded thrips (Selenothrips rubrocinctus)
PRODUCTION Back To: Menu Bar
The macadamia nut originated and is grown in Australia, but commercial production in concentrated in Hawaii. Some countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia also grow macadamia nuts. In the continental United States, trees are found in California and Florida.
The yield of in-shell nuts on poorer land in Hawaii is about 5200 lb/ac, with at least 7000 lb/ac attainable on better land. In Australia, the yield in good orchards is about 4000-5000 lb/ac.
The shell accounts for most of the macadamia nut’s weight. Hawaii’s average kernel recovery rate from in-shell nuts was 23.5% during 1989-1990. With an improved cracking system, better shell-kernel separators, and cultivars with a high percentage of kernel, the recovery rate could increase to 35%.
Of the 49 million lb of gross, wet in-shell nuts delivered to processors in 1988-89, 3.5 million lb, or 7.1%, were culled. The primary causes of loss were mold and rot (2.2% of the total crop delivered), followed by immature nuts (2.1%); stink bugs Nezara viridula (1.1%); germinating nuts (0.7%); koa seed worm, Cryptophlebia illepida (0.5%); and the macadamia shot hole borer, Hypothenemus obscurus (0.5%). The figures exclude nuts culled before delivery and losses at the farm caused by rat damage, macadamia quick decline (MQD) and other factors.
Data on worldwide production are scarce and conflicting. An estimate for 1989 indicates that macadamia nut plantings covered 54,600 ac and total production of in-shell nuts was 62 million lb. Hawaii is the major producer, accounting for over 73% of total production, followed by Australia (22%). Other producers include South Africa, Guatemala, Kenya, Costa Rica, Malawi, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand and China.
About 2000 acres are planted in the San Diego area. Although not all plants have begun bearing, Southern California growers produced about 150,000 lb (in-shell) of rough-shell macadamia nuts in 1988 at a farmgate price of approximately $1.50 lb Rough-shell nuts do not roast well; the price reflects a novelty demand for in-shell or raw nuts.
Hawaii is the world’s leader in growing and processing macadamia nuts. In 1989-90, Hawaii harvested a record 50.5 million lb of buts (net, wet in-shell basis) for a record farm value of $44.9 million, up from 18.2 million lb and $5.8 million in 1975-76. The crop covered about 22,300 acres in the state, of which 18,200 acres, or 82%, were bearing acreage.
The price of in-shell nuts has climbed along with production in Hawaii. The net farmgate price has gone from 31.6 cents in 1975-76 to 89 cents in 1989-90.
In Hawaii, macadamia nuts are grown by both small-scale farmers and large corporate producers. Most operations are located on the Big Island. Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp. (a subsidiary of C. Brewer) and MacFarms of Hawaii are the two largest local growers and processors.
A 1989 CTAHR study calculated annual net returns per acre in Hawaii from start-up to maturity (16 years or older) for farms of 25, 50, 100, and 500 acres. Various price and yield scenarios were used for mature orchards, showing substantial economies of scale for the larger farms. A previous study published in 1982 assessed the economic feasibility of 5-, 10- and 20-acre farms in Hawaii. Most growers are multiple-income farm families, and macadamia nuts supply only a fraction of their income.
Australia is the second largest producer of macadamia nuts, with an estimated 15,000 acres planted in 1989. While most of the Hawaii trees are mature, an estimated 20% of the trees in Australia are bearing. As the trees mature Australia will become a more formidable competitor.
US per capita consumption of macadamia nuts increased from 0.04 lb in 1979 to 0.06 lb in 1988. macadamia nut consumption in 1988 was somewhat comparable to that of filberts (0.09 lb) and pistachios (0.19 lb), but considerably lower than that of almonds (0.66 lb), pecans (0.52 lb) and walnuts (0.44 lb).
In 1989-90, US (Hawaii) production of macadamia kernels was about 11.9 million lb (assuming a 23.5% kernel recovery rate). During 1989, the US also imported 5.1 million lb of macadamia nut products, of which 4.2 million lb were shelled nuts at a CIF value (cost, insurance and freight) of $20.4 million. In addition, 673,000 lb of prepared or preserved nuts and 189,000 lb of unshelled nuts were imported at values of $1.2 million and $175,000, respectively.
In 1991, the farm value of macadamia nuts fell to $34.7 million, the lowest since the 1984-1985 crop season, as grower prices slid to a seven year low. Production was estimated at 49.5 million pounds, net wet-in-shell, down 1 percent from the previous season. Weather in the major growing areas was drier than usual, however the effects on yield were varied. Continued dry weather in Kona and South Kona generally had a downward effect on yields, whereas normally wet East Hawaii orchards benefited from the drier conditions. Total acreage, at 22,500 acres, remained at about the same level. An anticipated increase in bearing acreage was postponed pending rejuvenation of major plantings.
US imports of macadamia kernels have increase nearly eight times, from 539,700 lb in 1982 to 4.2 million lb in 1989. Australia was largely responsible for the increase; its exports to the United States rose from 21,800 lb in 1982 to 2.4 million lb in 1989. Imports from Malawi also increased substantially, from nothing in 1982 to 945,800 lb in 1989.
In the 1992-1993 (July 1, 1992 to June 30, 1993) crop year, there were 660 farms with 20,500 acres in crop. There were 17,500 acres bearing a net production of 2,700 pounds per acre. There were 53,000,000 pounds of macadamia nuts delivered wet in-shell to processors. The net production less the total spoilage through cracking was 48,000,000 pounds. The gross farm price (farm value divided by gross production) was 61.6 cents per pound and the net farm price was 68 cents per pound. The farm value (net production multiplied by net farm price) was $32,640,000.
In 1989, Australia supplied 94% of unshelled macadamia nut imports to the US. Australia also was the major supplier of shelled macadamia nuts, accounting for 58% of the total US imports, followed by Malawi (22%) and Guatemala (15%). Other suppliers included Costa Rica, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Brazil.
The average US import price (CIF) of macadamia kernels was $4.81/lb in 1989. The major ports of entry were Honolulu (32.6% of total imports), San Francisco (31.4%) and Los Angeles (28.8%).
Hawaii is the most developed market for macadamia nuts. The estimated value of Hawaii’s chocolate-covered macadamia nut wholesaling industry is over $100 million. The snack nut market is another major outlet for macadamia nuts.
Japanese visitors purchase a large quantity of macadamia products in Hawaii to take home. These “suitcase exports” are not included in the US export statistics.
The Hawaii Macadamia nut Association publishes an annual proceedings of research and issues, and a quarterly newsletter, MacFacts.
REFERENCES Back To: Menu Bar
Bittenbender, H. C. and H. H. Hirae. 1990. Common Problems of Macadamia Nut in Hawaii Research Extension Series 112. College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, HITAHR, University of Hawaii.
Neal, Marie C. In Gardens of Hawaii. Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press, 1965.
Yokoyama, Kevin M., Kulavit Wanitprapha, Stuart T. Nakamoto and H.C. Bittenbender. 1990. Macadamia Nut Economic Fact Sheet #9. Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, CTAHR, University of Hawaii.
Statistic of Hawaiian Agriculture 1991. Prepared by: Hawaii Agricultural Statistics Service, P.O. Box 22159, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96823-2159. December 1992. 105 pages.

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Behold the macadamia: delicious, fatty, and frequently cloned! Jessica Merz/CC by 2.0

Last week, a shocking discovery rattled the relatively stagnant field of commercial macadamia nut research. The vast majority of the world’s commercial macadamia crops originated from a single 19th-century tree in the tiny town of Gympie in Queensland, Australia, according to a new study in Frontiers in Plant Science. It’s basically the Genghis Khan of macadamia nut trees, progeny-wise.

The researchers collected hundreds of DNA samples from macadamia trees in the trees’ native habitat in Queensland and compared them to samples of commercially grown trees from Hawaiʻi, which produces 70 percent of the world’s macadamia varieties. This comparison revealed that all of Hawaiʻi’s macadamias share distinctive markers with a tiny wild grouping of trees in Gympie, suggesting that all of the state’s modern crops were likely cloned out of a single Australian tree. In other words, 70 percent of the world’s macadamia varieties can be sourced back to a single tree or a couple of trees in Gympie, according to a statement from Craig Hardner, a horticulturalist at the University of Queensland and one of the researchers leading the study.

“A small collection of seeds were taken to Hawaiʻi at the end of the 19th century and historical records suggest that there was maybe six trees grown from that sample of nuts that were taken by Robert Jordan and planted in his brothers’ backyard in the suburbs of Honolulu in 1896,” Hardner told ABC News.

A grove of macadamia trees in Queensland, Australia. Jenny Brown/CC by 2.0

Like many tree crops, macadamias are reproduced via grafting. So commercial orchards often contain thousands of trees but just a few individuals, according to the study. This remarkable lack of genetic diversity places macadamia crops at a higher risk of succumbing to disease or changes in climate than trees with a more diverse population, according to a report in The Guardian. In comparison, wild Australian macadamias boast a rich diversity despite their narrow habitat of subtropical forest, the study found.

Macadamias are no small affair for Queensland. In the 1860s, King Jacky, the Aboriginal elder of the Logan River Clan and the world’s first “macadamia nut entrepreneur,” was the first to commercially market the nut to settlers. The world’s oldest known cultivated macadamia nut tree, planted in 1858, still grows in Brisbane’s botanic gardens. In 2017, the nuts comprised 14 percent of the Australia’s horticultural exports, according to The Guardian. Queensland has paid fitting tribute to its nut-spreading legacy in the form of the Big Macadamia Nut. The nut, which stands 52 feet tall, is one of Australia’s 50 Big Things, which include other fruits such as a Big Bunch of Bananas and a Big Avocado.

Of the four wild macadamia species living in Queensland today, three are threatened and one is endangered, the study notes. While collecting samples, the researchers stumbled upon one tree grown in Hawaiʻi that they were unable to trace back to the wild. So they’ve asked local, would-be nut-spotters to get involved in identifying old, wild macadamia nut trees that could hold this missing genetic diversity. So if you happen by Queensland anytime soon and spot the telltale strands of green nuts hanging from a tree, send a leaf sample here and you may help preserve Australia’s fattiest wild nuts.

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The culture of Macadamia nut

The macadamia nut (Macadamia integrifolia) it is an arboreal plant of subtropical climate, belonging to the botanical family Proteaceae. It is original from the provinces of New South Wales and Queensland, in Australia, where it is found at natural forests. The name macadamia was given in homage to John MacAdam that characterized several species of plants in the Australian continent. In spite of the Australian origin, the macadamia nut had larger technological development in Hawaii, where his creation of the main varieties and clones were planted in the world.

In Brazil this culture is still little known, probably for the high value of the product and or for the fact of the culture is almost destined exclusively for exportation. Its fruit is a follicle, composed by three main parts: carpel (exocarp and mesocarp), shell (endocarp) and almond (seed and embryo). The almond is the principal commercial product, which presents refined flavor and enough appreciation at the international market. It is consumed raw, toast or in the preparation of fine chocolates. The broken almonds during the processing or those of inferior quality are used for extraction of oil of excellent quality, used mainly in the production of cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry.

The first report of planting this species in Brazil was in 1931, with the introduction of some coming plants of American nurseries in the Cintra Farm, in Limeira, state of São Paulo. About 1950, the Agronomic Institute of Campinas (IAC) began the first studies with the culture in our country, and later, it had developed technological bases to give support to the commercial production, that had started from the decade of 80. However, the commercial cultivation was modest and only next to the end of the decade of 90, with the economical stabilization; the culture consolidated and is presenting growth perspectives.

Now, is considered an area of approximately 6,000 ha planting, with annual production of 3,200 tons of nuts in shell, and the principal States producers are: São Paulo (33%), Espírito Santo (31%) and Bahia (18%). Comparing the national productivity with the planted area, it is observed a low medium productivity, 533 Kg nut in shell/ha, this value is very low when compared with potential species. However, it should be considered that a lot of these plantations are young, which didn’t still reach the full production, which will begin to happen from the twelfth year. This elevated juvenile period is one of the principal obstacles of the culture, being reflected in the high period of returning of the capital invested in the formation of the orchard.

In the last years, this fruit has been considered as an alternative investment or a source of diversification of income in the property. This, in function of the external market presents growing demand for the product and for the fact of the Brazilian industry and exporters are consolidated in this market. Besides, there is an immense unexplored internal market that can be an increment factor in the national agro business.

Leonardo Duarte Pimentel
Agronomy Engineer, MSc. Plant Science
Federal University of Viçosa, Viçosa -MG, Brazil
[email protected]

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Buy Florida Fruit Trees, Grapevines, Berry Plants, Shade Trees, Nut Trees, Flowering Tree and Bamboo Plants


Order and purchase Florida grown fruit trees, plants and vines that have been sold by Ty Ty Nursery, tytyga.com, to Florida internet customers for many years, simply because numerous nut trees, such as pecan trees, chestnut trees and almond trees. The Elliott pecan tree is an excellent papershell pecan that was developed in Florida. The American chestnut tree has been re-introduced into Florida as a bright resistant chestnut that grows into a huge shade tree. Find the best FL Fruit tree and grapevines that can be grown like evergreens that don’t enter dormancy all year at Florida locations – USDA zones, 8-9-10 and 11. Not only do Florida nurseries grow tropical fruit trees and Florida extensive lists of top nursery plants for resale to other nurseries, but non-tropical fruit, berry and nut trees are grown by nurseries for you as Florida home gardeners. Southern apple trees, such as the Anna Apple tree and the Golden Dorsett apple trees, were imported from Israel 40 years ago, where these low chill apple trees have a similar climate as Israel and a wide array of plants are perfect to grow for delicious fruit in much of Florida when these fruit trees are pollinated correctly.

Another non-tropical Florida Fruit tree that freely fruits is the Florida Home, (Flordahome), Pear tree. An extensive list of Florida nurseries have shipped bearing size fruit trees to States like; Ca, La, Ms, Ga and Al where low chill temperatures are necessary for the fruit to mature. The most popular low chill Florida Peaches are Flordaking, Flordaprince, and Flordacrest, that are often erroneously called Florida King Peach (Flordaking), Florida Prince Peach trees and Florida Queen Peach Trees. The evergreen loquat, often called the Japanese Plum tree, thrives and grows a heavy fruit crop in Florida during the spring. Florida is famous for its large loquat trees that reliably produce bushels of fruit. Most fruiting Plum tree varieties will fruit well in Northern Florida, producing large plump plums in brilliant colors of red, yellow, green, purple, orange and blue.

Get Nectarine Trees that will fruit best in Northern Florida very well, as will new hybrid cultivars of Quince trees. Both European Strawberry trees and Chinese Strawberry trees will flourish and fruit in Florida Gardens. Fruiting Mayhaw trees can be found growing wild in the Florida lowlands as a Florida native plant. The Guava tree is widely dispersed in Central and Southern Florida as a semi-wild plant or fruit tree. Tourist roadside shops along the I-10 and I-75 and US-1, Florida highways are saturated with gifts and souvenir selections, places where you can buy jars of Guava jelly and many other Guava treats as reminders of your vacation, Florida beach visits.

Florida landscapes are often planted with the Florida native plant, Red Mulberry Tree ( Morus rubra) trees. White mulberry trees and black mulberry Persian hybrid trees also produce excellent quantities and flavors of berries. Several Mulberry cultivar selections are available for you to buy online with a flavor that pleases avid Florida gardeners.

Many Floridians want to grow fruit on Cherry trees and Apricot trees, but even though these high quality fruit trees will grow in Florida, Find Apricots and Cherry fruit trees that will not normally mature edible fruit in Florida with the exception of a very few cultivars, because the trees are not chilled enough to form fruit, except, perhaps, in Northern Florida during some winters.

Most Fig Tree cultivars will freely fruit a basketful of tasty figs in Florida, and the numerous figs will develop a high quality, if the heat and humidity are controlled. Fig trees planted in Tampa are very fast growing and also an excellent shade trees in the hot Florida sunshine.The Patrick’s Super Giant Fig can weight up to one-half pound each, but should picked off the tree daily, so as to avoid limb breakage. The Black Mission Fig tree, the Nero Caesar Fig trees and the Kadota figs are all very productive and delicious to eat. There are many other fig tree cultivars available to purchase on tytyga.com.

Many banana Tree cultivars are found growing almost everywhere in Florida, and the banana fruit develops an excellent flavor when grown on practically all types of soil profiles, especially in sandy soil that is very common to Floridians. Banana trees show promise as a profitable, commercial fruit tree product in South Florida in the future for venturous gardeners.

Olive Trees are being planted near Clearwater, Florida orchards to test the possibilities for growing as a viable cash commercial crop. The production of olive oil, and planting olive trees to grow as a fresh olive fruit tree crop has worked economically in Europe for centuries and Florida Agriculture could welcome the income of olive fruit trees to replace the doomed citrus orchards.

The Pomegranate tree, an exotic and rare fruit tree introduced into Florida, and was once planted around most Florida Farm homesteads, and new, recent, hybrid, pomegranate trees offer the fruit tree grower new choices of flavor of high quality and new hybrid pomegranate tree selections will expand new pomegranate harvest dates.

Japanese Persimmon trees were introduced into Florida fruit tree gardens by Professor Hume, at the University the University of Florida in the early 1900’s, where the Japanese persimmon, grafted hybrid persimmons were quickly accepted and eagerly planted by the Florida homeowners and now are being planted in many American orchards.

The rare and exotic fruits of the Medlar tree, Paw Paw tree and the Jujube fruit trees are easy to grow and popular fruit trees to buy for Fl. Gardens, and many new grafted trees of these Fl. fruit trees can be bought online at TyTyGa.com Nursery.

Florida Blueberry Plants are probably the best of the berry plants that are recommended to grow in Florida, and many low chill cultivars of the blueberry plant have been hybridized by the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. that produce large size blueberries with a very sweet flavor and the seed are very small. Muscadine grapevines grow well in Florida vineyards, as well as the Scuppernong Grape Vines, and the high yields and delicious flavor make them a grocery store favorite when the Muscadines ripen in August. It is important to plant a male muscadine grape vine with a female scuppernong grapevine to get the correct pollination. Discover the best Florida tips for growing Fruit trees, grape vines and berry plant tip information and reviews on the Ty Ty Nursery website, tytyga.com
You will reduce your electric power bill, reduce erosion in your landscape and increase the value of your real estate. Not all shade trees will grow well in Florida, because of the excessive heat, the high humidity and the playground for abundant insects and disease. Florida Live Oak trees are famous shade growers that live for hundreds of years and shade houses and landscapes. Live Oak trees are basically evergreen trees and producers of abundant quantities of acorns that feed many wildlife animals like deer and game birds. Red Maple trees are native to Florida and produce lots of cooling shade in the summertime, and the Red maple tree prefers damp soil profile, but can sustain periodic droughts. Longleaf Pine trees are native to Florida and are long lived and form excellent shade year round, The Slash Pine trees and Loblolly Pine trees are fast growing trees that will provide excellent shade to your home and landscape,, and when planted in close together will form an excellent privacy barrier to outline your property. Bald Cypress trees and Pond Cypress trees grow into excellent shade trees, and the Pond Cypress tree prefers to grow in wet areas, which Florida has plenty of. The Sassafras tree, Sweet Gum tree, and the Swamp Tupelo trees are all good shade trees that grow well in wet soil mixtures.

The Florida,Catalpa, shade tree is also an excellent flowering tree, and the giant leaves are home to the fish bait worms that are prized by fishermen, and commonly planted as lakeside trees near the home of the fish: bream, shell crackers and bass. Other excellent wildlife fruit trees are the wildlife pear tree, the native crabapple tree and the American persimmon trees that ripen their aromatic fruit in the fall. Earlier bearing wildlife food trees are the Chickasaw plum tree that is native to the woodlands and the red and black mulberry trees. Many wildlife animals like white tailed deer and game birds are attracted to seedling pecan trees in the fall, and these animals also are attracted to chestnut trees and hickory nut trees for fall nut gathering when other fruit is scarce. Elderberry native plants and strawberry bushes create scents that draw all wildlife animals and birds, and the blackberry plants and dewberry plants are thorny and provide protection from predators and juicy berries to eat. The native autumn olive trees and the swamp Ogeechee lime trees ripen their fruit in late summer. Wildlife animals love acorns, and the sawtooth oak tree can produce lots of acorn food in only 5 years. The Turkey oak tree and the gobbler oak tree acorns are small and a perfect bite-size for turkey and other game birds. The white oak tree is slow to mature, but produces a bountiful crop of acorns that last for a long time after falling on the ground.
The Lombardy poplar tree is a FL fast growing shade tree that can exceed 8 feet of growth the first season, and the Lombardy poplar tree grows into a dense privacy screen, and the bright yellow fall leaf color is dramatic, like the bright leaves of the Sour Wood tree.
Planting shade trees and Flowering trees like the Miami Pink Crape Myrtle Tree in the State of Florida, where the sunshine heats up your rooftop to critical mass It is very important to keep your home cooled during July and August, by selecting the proper shade tree on the East or West side of your house. The best North Florida Flowering trees are distinctive from those that are planted in South Florida mainly because of the lack of sufficient temperatures that are necessary for the best Florida flowering trees as they do in North Florida. The Southern Magnolia tree, Magnolia grandiflora, is native to Florida and grows as one of the longest living and massive providers of shade for homes and property. The Southern Magnolia’s also are covered with giant white flowers with a wonderful fragrance. The Little Gem Magnolia trees is a dwarf version of the Southern Magnolia, and the smaller tree grows half size flowers, but more of them flower over a longer period of time. The Japanese flowering Magnolia tree is not only a good shade tree, but this deciduous FL flowering tree is covered in earliest spring with huge flowers of lavender, white or pink, and the very rare colors yellow or red are new to the market place. Crape myrtle shrubs (dwarf) and trees that grow to 20 or more favorite have become a favorite choice to plant at Gainesville, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville, FL. Crape myrtle favorite colors are red, white Natchez and pink Miami Crape Myrtles. Many new, superior, striking colors have been introduced, including the “True Blue” crape myrtle, “Black Diamond” Crape myrtle shrub and “Midnight Magic” crape myrtle trees, and other shrub-leaf-colors of “Black Cow” and red. Many Nursery garden centers claim that the crape myrtle tree has become the South’s most popular flowering tree. The Guava tree or shrub, Feijoa sellowiana, glows in the spring with spectacular blooms and then forms a delicious guava fruit. The Vitex tree blooms several times during the summer in colors of purple, blue and white. Popular deciduous flowering trees for Florida are dogwood tree, Japanese flowering cherry tree, and Redbud tree that is a native tree, along with the Grancy Greybeard tree. White flowering pear trees begin blooming in early spring along with the peppermint flowering peach tree, also in colors of red, white and pink. For the gardeners who like the yellow colored flowers the Cassia tree and the Golden Rain Tree are brightly colored. Some gardeners prefer to plant a fast growing tree that flowers, and those would include the Mimosa tree, the Purple Locust tree and the Empress trees. The Florida Red Buckeye tree is rare to find at a plant nursery, but the red dramatic flower spikes that are produced in the summer are beautiful and sought out by butterflies and hummingbird lovers. Another beautiful Florida Flowering tree is the White and the Purple Wisteria tree that blooms in early spring. The Oleander tree has become extensively established in Florida coastal areas where it thrives in full sun, drought conditions and is salt water tolerant. Firestarter red is the most popular color along with the pink oleander tree and the white oleanders. The dwarf apricot oleander tree only grows to 6 feet maximum height, whereas the rare yellow and purple oleander trees can grow to 25 feet tall.
One of the most important plant fast growing privacy screens in either Jacksonville, Tampa or Orlando Florida, bamboo plants, is very fast growing into dense clumps where it is often used to outline property fairway boundaries. The bamboo culms (canes, poles, stalks) are thickly matted with leaves and effectively block out the noises from nearby automobiles and the toxic fumes of carbon dioxide are transformed into breathable oxygen, and unwanted visitors will be denied entrance to your property. The bamboo canes are beautifully colored on the exterior in colors of waxy green, yellow or shiny blue-black, and the leaves and stems are often variegated. Florida bamboo plants are very desirable for planting at the numerous golf courses in the State, where tourism creates a valuable income, and the bamboo fences that outline the golf fairways can prevent wind interference with teeing off at the greens. You can order your living bamboo barrier that will be immediately be shipped by UPS directly to your house or business by Ty Ty bamboo nursery, tytyga.com., at any time during the year.
There is good news for plant lovers and plant collectors in Florida, agave plants, yucca trees and aloe plants will survive in most gardens during the winter cold temperatures. The agave plants are armed with thorny fleshy leaves that have edges of leaves outfitted with prickly spines and a sharp spike at the leaf terminal. Many people plant an agave plant beneath a window to burglar proof their house. Many of these xeriscopic plants are desert plants that required no attention to survive tough droughts since the leaves are storehouses of water and required no fertilization or maintenance. The Agave americana also called a, Century Plant, is a thick leaved plant that is native to the US, and the mutation, Agave americana ‘Marginata’ plant is variegated and decorated with beautiful vibrant striping on the leaves. The Agave angustifolia ‘Marginata’ unlike the other variegated form has stiff, hard woody leaves placed at right angles with the stem. The Agave tequilana is filled with a sweet juice that is fermented into a popular alcohol drink called tequila. The Agave attenuata is a spineless plant with no teeth at leaf edges or a terminal shape spike. The Agave vilmoriniana “Octopus” is aptly named because it is armed with curvy leaf tentacles and the unearthly and uncanny appearance of an octopus. These plants are long lived and at maturity will send up a gigantic flower stalk with an impressive inflorescence of white blooms as the top. The Agave Manfreda is called the rattlesnake aloe in Virginia, where it grows as a native plant with a strange exotic form. The Spanish Dagger, Yucca gloriosa, is a native tree to Florida that can grow 16 feet in height with gigantic flowers of white in the spring that look like lilies. This yucca tree has long hard spikes at the leaf terminals that can be very dangerous. The yucca plants signal a fair warning to beware of the prickly spines on leaves with doubly sharp terminal spikes. The Joshua trees, Yucca brevifolia, the Yucca rostrata and the Yucca filamentosa ‘Color Guard’ all are stunning ornamentals in the landscape. The red yucca, Hesperaloe parviflora sends up a 3 foot tall flower stalk in the summer with orange flowers, and the leaves of the red yucca plant turn red during the winter. The Aloe vera is a well known flowering aloe plant that has intricately mottled leaves thick and juicy with a fluid that will cure stings of fire ants, bees and wasps, and also heals burns, and skin wounds.

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