What about it?
The macadamia is a nut tree that grows best in tropical to subtropical climates (yet another tree that we cannot grow in the Northeast!) Hawaii is a major producer of this tasty, rich nut. It is grown in California as well. The bright green leaves of this tree are borne in whorls, and the flowers are small, white or pink, with a nice scent.
What is it used for?
The macadamia is enjoyed out-of-hand as a rich, delicious nut, either raw or roasted. It is also used in baking and in candies. The tree is often seen as an ornamental along roads in Southern California.
Where does it grow? How do we grow it?
Macadamias grow on a wide range of soils, but a well-drained soil is necessary. They prefer warm, sheltered conditions. Their natural habitat in Australia is in a rainforest, so they do prefer a good supply of moisture!
What are its primary problems?
Leaf roller caterpillar, mealy bug, and thrips are the main insects found on macadamia trees. Weak anchorage in the soil and weak crotch angles make Macadamias susceptible to wind breakage.
How do we harvest and store it?
The nut is actually a follicle, and when they are ready to eat, the walls of the nut dry and split open. The nuts should be picked up as soon as they drop to the ground. They are stored in a dry, airy place for several months.
© Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.