Today, the largest producers of macadamia nuts are Australia and South Africa, which account for about 50% of total production, followed by Kenya, China, and the USA. USA, Guatemala, Brazil, Malawi, Vietnam, Colombia, New Zealand and Swaziland. Macadamias are native to Australia, but today they are cultivated in many parts of the world. The largest producers of macadamia nuts are Australia and South Africa (55% of total world production), followed by Kenya, China, the United States (Hawaii), Guatemala, Malawi, Vietnam, Colombia, New Zealand and Swaziland.
Although there are ten varieties of macadamia, only two produce expensive nuts, and it takes seven to 10 years for trees to start producing nuts. By comparison, wild Australian macadamias have a rich diversity despite their narrow subtropical forest habitat, according to the study. The first commercial macadamia orchard was planted in the early 1880s by Rous Mill, 12 km (7.5 miles) south-east of Lismore, New South Wales, and consisted of M. The oldest cultivated macadamia nut tree in the world, planted in 1858, still grows in Brisbane's botanical gardens.
Known for their sweet and rich flavor, macadamia nuts quickly became popular with sugar barons who came to the islands to start the sugar industry. New research on oilseeds has revealed that the world's dominant commercial species, which is cultivated in Hawaii, comes from a single tree in southern Queensland that dates back to the 19th century. The researchers collected hundreds of DNA samples from macadamia trees in the native habitat of trees in Queensland and compared them with samples from trees grown commercially in Hawaii, which produces 70 percent of the world's macadamia varieties. Macadamias prefer fertile, well-drained soils, a rainfall of 1000 to 2000 mm (40 to 80 inches) and temperatures that do not fall below 10 °C (50 °F) (although once established, they can withstand light frosts), with an optimal temperature of 25 °C (80 °F).
Of the four wild species of macadamia currently living in Queensland, three are threatened and one is endangered, the study notes. Therefore, China annually plants about 2 million macadamia trees and, according to experts, will soon become the world leader in its production. It wasn't until the early 20th century that macadamia nuts began to be cultivated in Hawaii as a cash crop. The vast majority of the world's commercial macadamia crops originated from a single 19th-century tree in the small town of Gympie in Queensland (Australia), according to a new study published in Frontiers in Plant Science.
This comparison revealed that all Hawaiian macadamias share distinctive markers with a small group of wild trees in Gympie, suggesting that all of the state's modern crops were probably cloned from a single Australian tree. In the 1860s, King Jacky, the elder Aboriginal member of the Logan River clan and the world's first “macadamia nut businessman”, was the first to market the nut to colonists. While collecting samples, the researchers stumbled upon a tree that had grown in Hawaii and that they couldn't trace back to its wild state. That's why they've asked potential local nut observers to get involved in identifying old, wild macadamia nut trees that could contain this missing genetic diversity.