MacDaniels, Laurence H. Horticultural Section, School of Integrative Plant Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Last reviewed:August 2020
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The hard-shelled seed obtained from the fruit of a tropical evergreen tree, genus Macadamia, native to Queensland and New South Wales in Australia. Macadamia trees grow to 15 m (49 ft) in height and have a dense foliage of glossy, leathery leaves. They bear many small white or pinkish flowers in drooping racemes (inflorescences with flowers borne on stalks of equal length on an unbranched main stalk), each of which may mature from 1 to 20 fruits. These fruits consist of a leathery outer husk (pericarp) that splits along one side at maturity, freeing the hard-shelled, nearly round seed or nut [which is about 25 mm (1 in.) in diameter]. Two types of nuts are recognized commercially: the most important nut for commercial production has a smooth shell (M. integrifolia) [see illustration], whereas the other has a rough shell (M. tetraphylla). See also: Fruit; Nut crop culture; Proteales; Tree
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