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HOME GARDEN; NEW ZEALAND; ARTICLE
Macadamia Varieties in the New Zealand home
The macadamia nut tree had been a novelty in warmer parts of New
for many years. But the 'kiwifruit boom' of the mid seventies saw a
surge of interest in 'new crops'. Everyone wanted to find a 'new
crop' that would mimic the financial success that came from the
As a result, macadamias were looked on as a potentially lucrative crop
for commercial orcharding. Appearance counted for everything, so the
of a useful commercial cultivar centred on low sugar levels in
nuts so that the kernels didn't caramelise and turn dirty brown when
were roasted. Experience soon showed that the green vegetable bug
and discolored the surface of kernels quite badly, making them
looking, with thin shelled varieties worst affected. Commercial
therefore have thicker shells that resist green vegetable bug damage,
low sugar levels for optimum whiteness when roasted.
The home gardener usually eats the nuts dryed, not roasted. Sweet nuts
are particularly nice. While commercial growers use machery to crack
nuts, home gardeners use held held devices. A thinner shell is useful
home nut cracking.
A few very thin shelled trees have turned up over the years amongst
seedling trees, but while mentioned as a curiosity, they are rarely
because the orientation is to thick shelled commercial varieties.
varieties are selected for early cropping and heaving crops -
sought by the avergage home gardener. Most varieties on sale are in
commercial varieties, and they are generally productive and reliable.
Sweet, thin shelled, productive varieties are almost non existant.
But sweet varieties, chiefly of the species Macadamia tetraphylla
and its hybrids, are available from time to time. Different macadamia
are hard to find in general, with garden centres usually only carrying
the variety 'Beaumont'. Many different cultivars were introduced from
South Africa, and United States (California and Hawaii), and some local
selections were also made. The varieties listed here are only a few of
the more important commercial cultivars and home garden selections.
are now difficult or impossible for the home gardener to obtain.
and cons of growing macadamias in the home garden
they end up a large tree; but, they are easily pruned, and new
sprouts from branch stubs quite readily.
they sometimes split off major branches as the wood is somewhat
but they can be pruned to have wider branch angles much less
to split, and a few varieties have naturally wide branch angles.
given the chance, rats will steal a large part of the crop; but
they can be controlled.
some varieties have to be picked, and the leaves are scratchy when you
reach into the canopy; but the sweeter tetraphylla varieties,
more 'prickly edged' drop their nuts - there are usually sweeter, too.
the trees flower very heavily, with racemes of variably fragrant
or creamy flowers.
the reddish new growth of some varieties is very attractive
very heavy cropping varieties have attractive grape-like cluster of
green nuts in the husk.
a few varities are a bit sparsely foliaged, upright, and rather
looking, not especially attractive.
if the nuts fall on the ground and no one bothers to pick them up they
can be a nuisance for the lawn mower
unless your neighbour has another variety, you will probably need two
kinds to ensure a good harvest, and not everyone has space for two
the dried nuts are a superior food source for humans, and dried nuts
rarely available. Roasted salted nuts are commonly available, but are
expensive, and likely to remain so.
A hybrid commercial vareity widely planted in New Zealand, high in
oil, but not sweet. It is one of the quickest vareities to come into
once planted in the garden, usually carrying a useful crop by the
year, and improving from then on. It crops prodigously when well
The impressive grape-like clusters of nuts are sometimes so heavy they
break the branchlet they are attached to. In commercial orchards, it
reached 18kg of nuts per tree by 8 years old! Nelmac 2 is believed to
a particularly effective pollinizer. On the downside, the nuts don't
from the tree when ripe, and the leaves are a bit prickly when you are
reaching into the interior of the tree during harvest. Beaumonts' shell
is easier than most commercial varieties to open.
This tree has attractive white flowers, comes into bearing very
is very productive, and has a relatively thin shell.
A M. tetraphylla selection propogated by Cheddar Valley
exclusively for the home garden for its sweet nuts and productivity.
A small tree, slightly prone to yellowing of the foliage when stressed,
that bears very heavy crops of bunches of small sweet nuts. It is
fully self fertile, as the original tree was an isolated seedling with
no other macadamis near by. The nuts fall from the tree toward the end
of the season, around early August.
Low sugar commercial variety, useful for the home gardener because
the nuts drop when ripe, it pollinates Beaumont, and is a fairly small,
compact tree. On the downside, it is quite prickly, and the nuts are
to green vegetable bug damage.
A high oil, bland tasting commercial variety. The tree is slow to come
into bearing, the shell is particularly thick, it crops fairly lightly,
and doesn't overlap it's flowering with other vareities as completely
some others. On the plus side, it is a very heavy flowering tree, the
fall when ripe, and the tree is open with naturally strong wide angles
This tree is fairly compact, but has washed out whitish yellow
new growth. As long as the tree is well fed, it is nothing to worry
it is just a peculiarity of this variety. It is a bit slow to 'get
when first planted. The nuts are particularly large, pleasant, and
They drop over quite a long period - last nuts falling in november,
all the rest are finished about the end of september - and are
of the first to ripen at the beginning of the season. Altho' the nuts
hang in large clusters, its overall productivity is high, with
orchards getting 22kgs of nuts per ten year old tree. It is said to be
a pollinator for Beaumont. Apart from needing a bit of extra care in
and mulching terms, the downside is that the nut is thick shelled and
With an efficient hand held cracker, this disadvantage actually becomes
an advantage, as you get more nut meat for each nut opened.
Originally released by Gordon Titirangi Macadamia nursery as a
for Beaumont, a small nut is with a high oil content.
Also a Gordon Titirangi Macadamia nursery selection, a thin shelled
selection, with moderate cropping. As with all thin shells, green
bugs can cause quite a bit of brown spotting on the kernel due to their
piercing sucking mouth parts penetrating the still developing immature
A high oil low sugar commercial variety. It is said to be a good
for Beaumont, crops moderately well, and may be self fertile. On
the downside, the nuts have to be picked when ripe.
A M. tetraphylla variety, the tree is productive, and the small
nut has a particularly good flavor. It is said to be a good pollinator
An Australian hybrid selection. The nut is large and of good quality.
It is popular in Australia as a rootstock.
A variety selected by Hans Lens in the mid 80's for its sweetness and
A rather spreading tree. On the plus side it is high yeilding
17 kgs off a 9 year old tree has been recorded), and the nuts drop to
ground.But the nut is thick shelled, and with not much flavor.
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