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Arguably the

Most Prized Nut on the Planet

Macadamia nuts are prized for their subtle, buttery flavor, velvety-soft crunchy texture and their oil profile. They contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and provide a good source of numerous essential nutrients, including thiamine, manganese, and copper1.

Places of Origin

Macadamia nuts come from trees indigenous to Australia and are part of the plant family Protaecaeae. South Africa is the world’s largest producer of macadamia nuts, supplying 25% of the world’s production, followed by Australia.

They are also produced in Kenya, Brazil and the U.S. (Hawaii) among others.

A Macadamia Nut’s Journey

Macadamia trees do not begin to produce commercial quantities of seeds until they are 7–10 years old, but once established, may continue bearing for over 100 years. Macadamia trees require rich soil, about 50 inches of rain per year, and temperatures that are not only frost-free but that vary within a limited range. The trees are evergreen and everbearing, with shiny leathery leaves. They produce clusters of long, delicate fragrant white blossoms. Each flower cluster produces up to 20 nutlets, which have green, fibrous husks and hard outer shells that split open as the nuts ripen.


The flowering of macadamia trees occurs over a four to six month period. They are also biennial, so alternate years produce light then heavy crops from a single tree. The trees require pollination during flowering, so beehives are brought into the orchards.

Ripened and unripened nuts look identical, so producers usually wait until the nuts fall to the ground where they are collected by hand or a mechanical picker. Because of this complexity, macadamia nuts are among the most expensive to produce.

A Hard Nut to Crack

It takes 300 pounds of pressure per square inch to crack a macadamia nut’s protective shell, making it the hardest nut in the world to crack! Once harvested, the kernel shrinks away from the inside of the shell, allowing the shell to be cracked by specially developed machinery, without damaging the kernel.


1. Nutrition source: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release, SR Legacy, April 2019.