Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Macadamia tetraphylla

Proteaceae

Rough-leaved Queensland Nut or Rough-shelled Queensland Nut

Endangered species

Description

This tree grows to 15 m high. The large leaves (18-25 cm long) occur in groups of four, and are glossy and leathery with stiff, prickly margins. Flowers appear in August to October and grown in pairs along a thread-like flower spike. The greyish-green fruit contains a hard-shelled, delicious nut.

Where it is found

The Macadamia occurs in subtropical rainforest in coastal areas north of the Clarence River into Queensland. It is endangered in its natural habitat and is at risk of disappearing from the world within 10-20 years if present land use continues.

Uses

  • The nut is supremely tasty. The oil content of the kernel is higher than 72 per cent, which is the highest for any oil-yielding nut. Out of a possible 4000 different types of food plants, the Macadamia is the only native Australian plant grown as a commercial food crop.
  • The NSW Department of Agriculture and Fisheries reported (1990) that the Macadamia was introduced to Hawaii in the 1880s. It was commercialised from the 1930s onwards. There are large Macadamia farms in South Africa, Costa Rica, Kenya, Malawi and Guatemala.

Further information

Click here for further information on Macadamia tetraphylla.

Macadamia
Macadamia fruits almost ripe for picking. Photo: Kathy Stewart at a Macadamia farm near Gosford.

Macadamia-tetraphylla
Macadamia tetraphylla: leaves and flowers, habit, fruit, nut.