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Flora of Australia Online

MACADAMIA

C.L.Gross

Macadamia F.Muell., Trans. & Proc. Philos. Inst. Vic. 2: 72 (1857); named after John Macadam, a secretary of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria

Type: Macadamia ternifolia F.Muell.

Trees to 40 m tall, sometimes multistemmed, ±buttressed. Leaves simple; adult leaves mostly verticillate, ±petiolate; margins entire or spinose. Conflorescence simple or in whorls on stalks; pseudo-racemes axillary and/or terminal. Flowers ±slightly zygomorphic, bisexual, each pair subtended by a ±caducous bract; pedicels free. Tepals 4, strap-like, dilated distally, coherent to free, becoming circinately reflexed, cream, cream-brown or pink. Filaments 4, partially adnate to tepals. Anthers 4, with connective slightly exceeding anthers. Hypogynous gland cylindrical, glabrous. Ovary glabrous to sericeous, sessile to shortly stipitate; ovules 2, orthotropous; style terete to slightly quadrate; stigma ovoid, clavate. Fruit a globular follicle, with an apical horn, tardily dehiscent along a ±distinct, longitudinal suture. Seeds globular to broadly ovoid; testa brown, smooth or wrinkled; embryo with cotyledons, cream, globose, sweet, bland or bitter. 

A genus of 8 species; 7 species endemic in eastern Australia and 1, M. hildebrandii Steenis endemic in Sulawesi, Indonesia. 

The fruits of Macadamia integrifolia and M. tetraphylla are edible and form the basis of the macadamia industry in Australia and overseas. Some species have been an important food source for aboriginal peoples in Australia and Sulawesi. It appears that the Aborigines in the Bellenden-Ker area of tropical Qld consumed the extremely bitter fruit of M. whelanii , probably after prolonged leaching. Macadamia grandis also occurs on the ranges of Mt Bellenden-Ker, but it is not known whether the fruit is edible or was consumed by the Aborigines. The Aborigines of the Mt Bauple region called the fruit of macadamia Jindilli . Further south, in northern N.S.W., the local aboriginal name for macadamia was Kindal Kindal . Macadamia was first domesticated in Hawai'i from M. integrifolia seeds imported from Australia by William Purvis in 1882. See also Introduction p. 38.

H.Sleumer, Macadamia , Fl. Males. ser. I, 5: 194–198 (1955); J.W.Wrigley & M.Fagg, Banksias, Waratahs & Grevilleas 453–459 (1989).

1 Adult leaves in whorls of 3 or 4 (–5); if 4 (–5), lamina margin always spinose; if 3, lamina margins spinose or entire; conflorescence simple

2

1: Adult leaves in whorls of 4 or more; lamina margins entire; conflorescence branched

6

2 Lamina margins spinose; leaves sessile to subsessile; petiole rarely to 4 mm long; rachis densely pubescent

tetraphylla

2: Lamina margins entire or spinose; leaves distinctly petiolate; petiole 6–18 mm long; rachis pubescent to glabrescent

3

3 Lamina apices obtuse

integrifolia

3: Lamina apices acute to acuminate

4

4 Lamina margins entire

jansenii

4: Lamina margins spinose

5

5 Lamina lanceolate to oblanceolate; tip long and tapering, at an angle of less than 45°; petiole 4–10 mm long; branchlets smooth, brown to burgundy, with small, white, regular lenticels; flowers pink

ternifolia

5: Lamina obovate to broadly ovate; tip broad, at an angle of more than 60°; petiole 6–18 mm long; branchlets rough, pale brown, with irregular, cream lenticels; flowers cream

integrifolia

6 Midrib prominent below, not above; pedicel longer than tepals; style to 2 mm long

whelanii

6: Midrib prominent above and below; pedicel shorter than tepals; style more than 2.5 mm long

7

7 Leaves chartaceous; tepals less than or equal to 4 mm; style less than 6.5 mm; ovary glabrous

grandis

7: Leaves coriaceous; tepals greater than or equal to 8.5 mm; style greater than or equal to 10 mm; ovary sericeous

claudiensis

 

Data derived from Flora of Australia Volumes 16 (1995), 17A (2000) and 17B (1999), products of ABRS, ©Commonwealth of Australia