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Macadamia integrifolia - Maiden.&Betche.

Common Name Macadamia, Macadamia nut
Family Proteaceae
USDA hardiness 9-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry rainforests of the eastern coastal scrub[167 , 260 ]. Found mainly on alluvial situations bordering rivers and creeks where the fertile volcanic soils are rich in humus[63 ].
Range Australia - New South Wales, Queensland.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Macadamia integrifolia Macadamia, Macadamia nut

Macadamia integrifolia Macadamia, Macadamia nut


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Macadamia integrifolia is an evergreen Tree growing to 10 m (32ft) by 10 m (32ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf all year. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Milk  Oil

Seed - raw or cooked. The fine, crunchy texture, rich cream colour and delicate flavour make the macadamia nut one of the finest dessert nuts[303 ]. The eating quality of the nut is enhanced by lightly roasting it in coconut oil and salting[303 ] .Sweet and delicious, the seeds can also be added to cakes, biscuits, ice cream etc[167 , 183 ]. They can be ground into a flour and then added to cereals to enrich their protein value. The shell is very hard, making it difficult to extract the seed[260 ]. The seed is up to 3cm long and wide[286 ]. An edible oil can be obtained from the seed[183 ], though it is seldom extracted due to the high value of the seed[63 ] The seed contains the highest level of oil yet found in a nut - up to 75%[303 ]. The oil contains 80% monounsaturated fats and 8% omega-6 fatty acids[301 ]. It has a subtle, nutty flavour and is added to salads, used in cooking etc[301 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Cosmetic  Fuel  Oil  Plant breeding  Tannin

Agroforestry Uses: The decomposed husk is commonly used in potting soil[303 , 418 ]. Macadamia will retard the growth of papaya trees planted near to it[303 ]. Other Uses: Macadamia shells may be used as fuel, generating sufficient energy to dry wet, in-shell nuts[303 ]. The oil from the seed is used in cosmetics[307 ]. The green seed hulls contain approximately 14% of tannins[303 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Global Crop  Management: Standard  Other Systems: Multistrata  Staple Crop: Oil

Macadamia integrifolia is a plant of the subtropics and tropics of eastern Australia. Iit has fairly stringent environmental needs if good crops of seeds are to be produced[303 ]. In the tropics it fruits best at elevations from 1,000 - 1,600 metres, but succeeds down to sea level in the subtropics[418 ]. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 10 - 26°c, but can tolerate 8 - 35°c[418 ]. Mature plants are capable of withstanding mild frosts, but only for short periods[303 ]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 3,000mm, but tolerates 700 - 3,500mm[418 ]. Requires a sunny position[418 ]. Plants grow best in rich, moist but well-drained soils and require copious summer watering in their early stages[167 , 303 ]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 6, tolerating 4.5 - 7[418 ]. Established plants are very drought resistant[200 ]. Trees require a sheltered position and are easily damaged by strong winds[200 ]. Floral initiation takes place when temperatures drop and trees become quiescent in autumn, the optimum temperature being 18°c[303 ]. The initials remain dormant for 50 - 96 days; the racemes extend after a rise in temperature and some rain[303 ]. Seedling growth is initially slow, but gathers momentum as saplings produce a series of extension growth flushes in a year[303 ]. The juvenile phase lasts for 7 years or more, but grafted trees come into bearing after 3 years[303 ]. Plants are slow growing in cultivation, especially when young, seedlings take 6 - 7 years to produce their first fruit[167 , 303 ]. The trees then produce commercial crops for about 40 - 50 years and can fruit for up to 100 years[200 ]. The trees can flower and produce fruit all year round[324 ]. Yields of 45 kg nuts-in-shell from better trees or an average of 3.2 - 3.5 t/ha per year are obtained in Hawaii[303 ]. Pruning is not normally necessary, but is tolerated if carried out in the autumn[188 ]. There are some named varieties[167 , 183 ].

Carbon Farming

  • Agroforestry Services: Crop shade  Plants providing crop shade especially trees.
  • Global Crop  These crops are already grown or traded around the world. The annual value of each is more than $1 billion US Examples include coconuts, almonds, and bananas.
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Other Systems: Multistrata  Multistrata agroforests feature multiple layers of trees often with herbaceous perennials, annual crops, and livestock.
  • Staple Crop: Oil  (0-15 percent protein, 16+ percent oil). Some of these are consumed whole while others are exclusively pressed for oil. Annuals include canola, poppyseed, maize, cottonseed, sunflower, peanut. Perennials include high-oil fruits, seeds, and nuts, such as olive, coconut, avocado, oil palm, shea, pecan, and macadamia. Some perennial oil crops are consumed whole as fruits and nuts, while others are exclusively pressed for oil (and some are used fresh and for oil).

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a warm greenhouse[188]. The dehusked seed germinates quickly at 25°c[200]. The seed can also be sown in the spring in a warm greenhouse[188]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If trying them outdoors, give the plants some protection from the cold for their first few winters. Cultivars may be grafted.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Macadamia, Smoothshell, Queensland Nut

Native Range

AUSTRALASIA: Australia, New South Wales (northeast), Queensland (southeast),

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Macadamia hildebrandiiCelebes nutTree14.0 10-12 MLMHNMWe403
Macadamia ternifoliaMacadamia Nut, Gympie nutTree8.0 10-12 MLMHNM402
Macadamia tetraphyllaQueensland Nut, Macadamia nutTree10.0 9-12 SLMHNM403

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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