Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Macadamia tetraphylla

Macadamia tetraphylla is a nut tree native to Australia.   The pendulous flowers are beautiful and have the fragrance of honey.  The scent is detectable in the vicinity of the tree.
The floral sprays can be up to 15 inches in length.  The blooms appear in early spring from the leaf axils of mature wood on horizontal branches.
The nuts start to swell as soon as the bloom is finished, and develop over the summer.
The nuts ripen by late summer or early fall and the husks split open to reveal the nut inside.
Macadamias are evergreen and grow 30-40 foot tall.  The leaves are stiff and leathery with sharp prickles along the margins.  New growth is a coppery-red color.
Macadamias are listed as hardy to 24° F but I suspect they could survive lower than that.  Mine had no damage at all during an extended period of 26° last winter.  The trees are drought-tolerant once established, but nut production will be improved with adequate soil moisture.
After cracking open the brown shells, the white nuts inside can be eaten raw or roasted.

8 comments:

Carol@KeepingUpWith said...

I absolutely adore your garden. I would love to have the macadamia here. But I have to pick and choose, unfortunately. Right now, I am desperate for a Blue Nain banana.

Keep doing what you are doing! I can't wait to see your next post.

Kimberly said...

I love macadamia...interesting plant, too.

p3chandan said...

I love Macadamia nuts in chocolates! Their blooms are really unique too

Rainforest Gardener said...

I've read differing reports as to its hardiness, but then again my yellow tab and weeping bottlebrush take a lickin and keep on tickin, despite being hardy to zone "9b". I'll show those books who's boss!

Kalipso said...

It is wonderful to learn something new. Thank you!

Sunchowder said...

Great read Jim!!! I would love to taste one from your garden and make a conserve :)

PrillyCharmin said...

Are the nuts hard to crack? That smooth round shape makes me think they'd be sliding all over the place! :D

Grower Jim said...

The nuts do have a thick shell, and you can buy special macadamia crackers to open them, but pliers and a hammer works too!

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