Although mainly cultivated on a commercial scale in South Africa (Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Kwa-Zulu Natal), Macadamia nut is an exotic tree originating from North Eastern new South Wales and central and South Eastern Queensland. Varieties of Macadamia nut commonly grown in South Africa include Beaumont, Kau, Mauka, Pahala, Makai and Nelmak 2.
When growing conditions are ideal, Macadamia integrifolia can grow up to 20 m high. This tree has a crown spread of 13 m. Its leaves are opposite in seedlings, appearing in whorls of three as the tree matures. During Spring (from August to September), this evergreen tree produces creamy white pinkish flowers making it a popular ornamental tree in the garden. It takes five to twelve years for Macadamia integrifolia to produce nuts. These oil rich nuts can be produced for up to 40 years and are edible to humans.
Macadamia nut grows well in hot sub-tropical climates and tolerates light frost. When choosing the right place to plant Macadamias, it is imperative to consider the height above sea level as well as the prevailing winds. This tree will not tolerate soil or water with high salt concentrations. It is most suited to deep, well-drained loams and sandy loams with good organic matter content. Due to its mature size, the Macadamia nut tree should ideally be planted in an area where a lot of space is available.