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             Macadamia farm

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    Macadamia nuts

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    Macadamia rainforest habitat

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    Macadamia ternifolia leaf and flowers

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    Planting the endangered Macadamia jansenii

The four Macadamias

There are four species of Macadamia, two of which are used for production of Macadamia nuts in Australia (Macadamia tetraphylla and M. integrifoIia). 

All four are genetically closely related and except for the single recorded population of the endangered Macadamia jansenii, have overlapping ranges.

Hybridisation is known to naturally occur between pairs of Macadamia species in those areas where they co occur and may be an important mechanism for adaptive evolution.

Macadamia integrifolia flower and nut maturation progression 


Macadamia integrifolia

'integ' means entire and 'folia' leaves.

Where is it found: Just north of the NSW/Queensland border to Mt Bauple north of Gympie.

How high does it grow: This species grows up to 25m high

What does it look like? It has three leaves with smooth edges to each node, new flush is green, flowers are cream and the shells are smooth.

Common names: Bauple Nut, Baphal Nut, Smooth Shelled Macadamia, Queensland Nut and Bauple Nut

Other information: It is the main commercial species. Macadamia integrifolia is found in a number of locations where M. tetraphylla or M. ternifolia also occur.  

 
Photo: Courtesy of Black Diamond Images, https://flic.kr/p/5VTHL5

Macadamia tetraphylla

'tetra' is Greek for four and 'phylla' leaf

Where is it found: From Lismore in New South Wales to about Mt. Tamborine in SE Queensland

How high does it grow: This species grows up to 20m high

What does it look like? It has four spiny leaves to each node, new flush and flowers are pink and the shells are rough.

Common names: Bush Nut, Rough-shelled Macadamia

Other information: This species is only commercially planted to a small extent in Australia although cultivar hybrids between it and M. integrifolia are common. It is widely planted in Kenya and California.

Macadamia ternifolia in flower 

Macadamia ternifolia

'terni' means three and 'folia' leaves.

Where is it found: Just north of Brisbane to Gympie in SE Queensland.

How high does it grow: This species grows up to 18m high

What does it look like? It has three leaves with spiny margins to each node, flowers and new flush are pink. The shells are small and smooth.

Common names: Maroochy Nut, Gympie Nut

Other information: Its nuts are small and intensely bitter.

 
A handful of nuts from the rare
Bulburin Nut, with a common
commercial variety of macadamia
nut at the far left for size comparison. Photo courtesy
of Scott Lamond, ABC

Macadamia jansenii

named after its discoverer Ray Jansen in 1991.

Where is it found: Bulburin National Park, Queensland

How high does it grow: This species grows up to 8m high

What does it look like? It has three leaves with smooth margins to each node, flowers are cream and new flush is green or pink. The nuts are small and smooth.

Common names: Bulburin Nut, Jansen's Macadamia

Other information: It is classified as endangered with only 60 individuals recorded from a single location in Bulburin National Park. It is slow growing with a small, slightly bitter nut. A bushfire or disease could result in the total population being lost.