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Monday, November 16, 2015

Macadamia Nuts - 'Macadamia integrifolia' or 'Macadamia tetraphylla' - fam. Proteaceae

The Macadamia is a genus of four species of trees indigenous to Australia, and constituting part of the plant fam. Proteaceae. They are native to north eastern New South Wales and central and south eastern Queensland. The tree is commercially important for its fruit, the macadamia nut, or simply macadamia. Other names include Queensland nut, Bush nut, Maroochi nut, Bauple nut, and Hawaii nut. In Australian Aboriginal languages, the fruit is known by names such as Bauple, Gyndl, Jindilli, and Boombera.

There are at least about seven species of macadamia grown in their wild natural habitat. However, only two of which are edible and cultivated in the horticulture farms around the world. Macadamia integrifolia produces smooth-shelled nuts, whereas Macadamia tetraphylla has nuts with a rough shell.

Macadamia species grow as small to large evergreen trees 2 – 12 m (6.6 – 39.4 ft) tall. The leaves are arranged in whorls of three to six, lanceolate to obovate or elliptical in shape, 6 – 30 cm long and 2 – 13 cm broad, with an entire, or spiny-serrated margin. The flowers are produced in a long, slender, simple raceme 5 – 30 cm long, the individual flowers 10 – 15 mm long, white to pink or purple, with four tepals. The fruit is a very hard, woody, globose follicle, with a pointed apex, containing one, or two seeds.

The German–Australian botanist Ferdinand von Mueller gave the genus the name 'Macadamia', in 1857, in honour of the Scottish-Australian chemist, medical teacher, and politician, John Macadam.

Compared with other common edible seeds such as almonds and cashews, macadamias are high in fat, and low in protein. They have the highest amount of monounsaturated fats of any known seed, and contain approximately 22% of omega-7 palmitoleic acid, which has biological effects similar to monounsaturated fat. They also contain 9% protein, 9% carbohydrate, and 2% dietary fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. 1

REFERENCE: 1 - Wikipedia - Macadamia.


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