History and Botany of Macadamia Nuts

Macadamias were found by explorer Alan Cunningham in 1828. In the 1850s the genus was named by Ferdinand von Mueller and Walter Hill after Dr John McAdam, a prominent scientist of the time.

They were taken in the early part of the 1900s to Hawaii. The industry grew and the nut became popular in the United States of America, giving rise to the myth that the nut is a native of Hawaii.

Macadamias are native to the subtropical rainforests on the east coast of Australia and were found in the rainforest pockets of south east Queensland and and the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales.

The Macadamia Tree
Macadamias grow on a medium sized evergreen tree of the Proteaceae family. The leaves are dark green and may vary in colour depending on the variety.

Flowers appear annually in racemes and have at that time a heady perfume. The fruit has a dark green husk inside of which is a very hard brown shell.

Inside the shell is the creamy white kernel, which is good for us because it is rich in monounsaturated fatty acid oils - highly recommended as part of a healthy balanced diet.