Macadamia, or Australian walnut – care

The Australian walnut tree, known as the macadamia, is native to the subtropical regions of Australia, in climates with mild, humid winters and hot summers. Macadamia nuts are loved, highly valued and considered a delicacy all over the world, and the difficulty of hand harvesting made macadamia the most expensive nut in the world.

Macadamia, or Australian walnut (Macadamia). Farmer Delio Garcia

Macadamia was first described by the German botanist Ferdinand von Müller, and named after the Australian chemist John Macadam. Prior to this, the nut was called by different names: mullimmbimbi, boomera, kindal. Currently, all over the world the name “Macadamia” has been assigned to the plant and its fruits.


Description of macadamia

Macadamia (Macadamia), or Australian walnut, or Kindal – a genus of plants of the Protein family (Proteaceae).

Cultivated varieties of macadamia grow 10-15 meters in height with a wide spreading crown. This deciduous tree produces rich, oily seeds encased in a tough skin. The seeds, called macadamia nuts, are edible. Macadamia nuts have a creamy, slightly sweet taste and delicate texture. Nuts usually ripen between March and September, but sometimes fruiting occurs all year round.

Natural pollinators of macadamia are bees, which not only do an excellent job with this task, but also make fragrant honey from pollen and nectar.

Macadamia flowers are small, whitish-cream or pinkish, they bloom on a long drooping inflorescence, reminiscent of an ear or ear. A delicate sweetish aroma emanates from them.

The nuts of the plant are almost ideal spherical, usually 1,5-2 cm in diameter, covered with a leathery bivalve shell of greenish-brown color, hard, with a kernel that is poorly separated from the shell.

Macadamia tree - Australian walnut, or Kindal (Macadamia)
Macadamia tree – Australian walnut, or kindal (Macadamia). Farmer Silvestresbrasileiros

Types of macadamia

There are nine types of macadamia, five of which grow only in Australia. Three of them are cultivated: Macadamia integrifolia, Macadamia ternifolia, and Macadamia tetraphylla. And only two species – Macadamia integrifolia and Macadamia tetraphylla – can be eaten raw.

There are macadamia plantations in Australia, California, Brazil, South Africa, Hawaii.

Conditions for growing macadamia

The ideal climate for growing macadamia is the climate of the subtropics, with mild (frost-free) winters, with an amount of precipitation of 200-250 cm per year. Trees can be grown in areas with lower rainfall but will require additional irrigation.

These exotic trees can also be grown in a home conservatory, where the winter temperature does not drop below +3 degrees Celsius.

Macadamia walnut trees do not tolerate a drop in temperature to 0 Celsius, they are most often damaged. Ideal growing conditions are in the temperature range 20 … 25 ° C. Macadamia trees prefer locations that are sheltered from the wind. They need to be planted in sunny areas, although a partially shaded one will do.

Macadamia prefers rocky or sandy soil, but grows in light clay soil where there is sufficient drainage. The pH (acidity) range of the soil is between 5.5 and 6.5.

When planting a macadamia tree, you need to dig a hole twice as wide and deeper than the size of the root system. When planting a tree in a hole, you need to remember that you cannot deepen the root collar of the plant below the soil level.

Macadamia nut
Macadamia nut. Farmer Forest & Kim Starr

Reproduction of macadamia

Macadamia is propagated by seeds and grafting. The seeds germinate at a temperature of + 25 ° C, and the trees begin to bear nuts after 8-12 years.

For commercial purposes, trees are propagated by grafting, as they begin to bear fruit six to seven years after planting. An adult macadamia tree produces approximately 100 kg of nuts per year for 40-50 years.


Macadamia, or Australian walnut - care
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Anna Evans

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