Macadamia tetraphylla / Macadamia integrifolia
French: noix de Macadamia
The macadamia tree was first cultivated in Australia in the 19th century by a chemist named John Macadam, for whom it was eventually named. The tree was originally prized for its shiny leaves and visual appeal, but the nuts were largely ignored because, possessing the world's hardest shell, they were almost impossible to crack.
The first macadamia trees were brought to Hawaii in 1881. With their volcanic soil and abundant sunshine and moisture, the islands proved perfect for cultivating the macadamia. Efforts to grow macadamias commercially began in the 1920s, but it was not until 1946, with the development of improved cultivars, that the Mauna Loa company - today the world's largest macadamia processor - established a plantation on the big island of Hawaii.
Australia's most delicious bush nut
Macadamia seeds were first imported into Hawaii in 1882 by William Purvis and macadamias have since become the most important tree crop in Hawaii. Here, the nuts typically drop 8 to 9 months of the year from May to December.
Edible nuts are from two species of the genus Macadamia: Macadamia integrifolia (smooth-shell type) and Macadamia tetraphylla (rough-shell type). The macadamia nut industry in Hawaii, Australia, and many other producing areas is based primarily on the smooth-shell type.
A clever invention called a "bonk," designed by George Rakusan to break the shell without crushing the nut.
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