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Plantation insight: How macadamia nuts are grown

You may know macadamia oil from body care or also from cooking. The nut oil is particularly popular due to its richness and valuable ingredients. However, before we can hold this end product in our hands, a few steps have to be gone through. This article is about the very first step: The cultivation of the macadamia nuts.

Global distribution of the macadamia

The macadamia is a tree that is primarily cultivated for its edible seeds or nuts. The macadamia tree belongs to the genus Macadamia and the Proteaceae family. The macadamia nut is also called the Queensland nut or Australian nut, as its origin is in Australia. In the meantime, however, the tree is also cultivated in other parts of the world. The worldwide production of the macadamia nut is about 51,900
metric tonnes. The macadamia nut is grown in South Africa, Brazil, California, Israel, Kenya, New Zealand and Malawi. The cultivation methods of the macadamia nut can vary depending on the region.

The Macadamia Tree

Macadamia trees naturally have several trunks, but are grown in plantations on a central piping system. This is then referred to as a single trunk. The leaves are oval or elongated and arranged in whorls of 3 or 4, depending on the variety. The macadamia tree produces creamy white or pink flowers, which form clusters of 100-300 flowers. They enclose a single spherical or elliptical seed or nut with a white or grey kernel, depending on the tree variety. The macadamia tree can grow to a height of about 20 metres and have a commercial lifespan of 40 to 60 years.

Macadamia trees are easy to grow and also require only limited special care. This is especially important in dry conditions. Macadamias are flat-rooted and therefore need a lot of water – especially during dry periods. It is important to mulch to keep the roots of the plant cool and to prevent the soil from drying out. The tree grows in humid areas, but it grows faster in tropical and subtropical areas. The macadamia tree tolerates cold down to -5°C.

Macadamia tree

The Macadamia Nut & its Harvest

Macadamia nuts have become an important crop.The nut has a
leathery shell that is 1 inch in diameter and contains a spherical nut. They also have a smooth hard shell enclosing a white kernel.Harvest time begins when the nuts separate on their own and fall to the ground. This varies depending on the region and meteorological conditions and can therefore be between February and mid-September.