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Macadamia nut
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Macadamia nut

The macadamia nut is the fruit of a tree native to the east coast of Australia. There are several species of which only one, Macadamia integrifolia, is of commercial importance.

The tree is an evergreen that grows to a height of 25 feet (7.62 meters) and bears clusters of small white flowers. It grows best in subtropical climates with well drained soil and annual rainfall of 40 to 100 inches (102 to 254 cm.).

The nutmeat is generally a creamy white in color, but sometimes has a yellowish tinge. It has a delicate flavor that is highly prized by many. Macadamias are consumed roasted or as an ingredient of cakes, pastries and confections. They are also finding a place in main dishes similar to the way that almonds and cashews are used in oriental cuisine.

Named after botanist John Macadam, the first commercial orchard was established in Australia in the late 1880s. Commercial production began in Hawaii during the 1920s and thereafter spread to California, Mexico and other regions with similar climate.