This genus of tree consists of 8 species of evergreen rainforest trees, 7 of which are native to coastal eastern Australia. They grow into compact trees often attaining dimensions of 5 to 10 metres in crown spread and reaching heights of 8 to 15 metres.
There are 2 common species of this tree often found in domestic gardens throughout Brisbane. Macadamia integrifolia (Smooth-Shelled Macadamia Nut) exhibits glossy oblong leaves in whorls of 3 with smooth slightly wavy edges. Macadamia tetraphylla (Queensland Nut) exhibits whorls of 4 dark green oblong leaves to 30cm long with prickly teeth. Both species have pendulous racemes of white or pinkish flowers in winter to spring.
The trees are self-pollinating and the round, hard shelled nuts ripening in late summer to autumn, drop when released from a leathery green follicle. Macadamia Nuts have long been a food source for Aboriginal Australians. The trees can be propagated from seed but will not bear nuts until at least 6 years old.
Pruning should be kept to a minimum as the trees produce a mass of sucker growth in response which can be problematic to manage within a domestic environment. The trees may also attract rodents which feed off the nuts falling from the tree so consideration regarding tree location is advised. Macadamia trees also require an ample supply of water in dry periods.
For more great information about this versatile Australian nut including recipes on how to use the nut go to http://www.australian-macadamias.org/consumer/en