A macadamia tree in full bloom, with delicate racemes dangling lazily down from the canopy, is a wonderful thing to behold. Depending on the time of year you visit these publicly accessible trees, you may even be able to find some of the treasured nuts on the ground under the tree.
There are four main varieties of macadamias: Macadamia integrifolia, Macadamia tetraphylla, Macadamia ternifolia and Macadamia jansenii. They were known by various names to the indigenous people of Australia (including Kindle, Goomburra, Boomberra and Bauple).
Macadamia trees are native to South-Eastern Queensland and Northern NSW. Over the years, the rainforests where macadamias grow in the wild have largely disappeared. The Macadamia Conservation Trust works to protect these wild trees. Luckily, there are still some beautiful examples of macadamia trees in public parks and botanic gardens that you can visit at any time of year. In springtime, you’ll be able see the beautiful flowers and in autumn you might just be lucky enough to find nuts on the ground….
1 – Brisbane Botanic Gardens
The Walter Hill tree in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Garden Point in the CBD is at the southern end of the garden’s rainforest. Planted by European botanist Walter Hill in 1858 from seeds brought from Gympie, the tree is believed to be the world’s first commercially-grown macadamia. Even though it is listed by the National Trust, it still produces nuts! All four varieties of macadamia are also on display at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha site.
Alice St, Brisbane City QLD 4000
2 – Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney is home to a stunning Macadamia tetraphylla. Each year when it bursts into flower, it delights visitors with beautiful blooms and lovely perfume. Unfortunately, all those spectacular racemes don’t necessarily translate into a huge macadamia crop. The tree has never set fruit because it stands alone, without another macadamia tree nearby to pollinate it.
Mrs Macquaries Road, Sydney NSW 2000
3 – Northern NSW
Lismore Botanic Gardens is home to all four varieties of macadamia tree, gifted by the Macadamia Conservation Trust. Planted in 2013, as part of a conservation effort and to educate the public about our native nut, the trees are still immature. However, they are extraordinarily beautiful to see when they flower.
Wyrallah Rd, Monaltrie NSW 2480
4 – Regional Queensland
Bundaberg and Noosa Botanic Gardens both house all four species of macadamia tree, gifted by the Macadamia Conservation Trust. In Bundaberg, Tondoon Botanic Gardens in O’Connell at Gladstone houses the largest collection of the rare Macadamia jansenii and staff are busy growing more trees for other botanic gardens.
6 Mount Perry Rd, Bundaberg North QLD 4670
Lake MacDonald Dr, Lake MacDonald (Noosa) QLD 4563
672 Glenlyon Rd, O’Connell QLD 4680
5 – Wild macadamia trees
The rainforests that once housed wild macadamia trees have mostly gone, however occasionally macadamia trees are found in remote wilderness or on private properties. These trees are of huge interest to researchers hoping to study and breed new varieties for cultivation. The Wild Macadamia Hunt is mapping this trees for the future.
Do you know of a stunning macadamia tree that is accessible by the public? Let us know on our Facebook page.