A photo of macadamia nuts lying on the sand

Macadamia nuts: where do they come from?

You might have heard of Macadamia nuts benefits for hair. But do you know where the queen of nuts actually comes from and what its history is? Read on, Aussie adventurers, for some aussome insights on the history of Macadamia nut.

Where do macadamia nuts come from?

A long time ago in the continent far away (and down under), Macadamia history began. In the rainforest along the north east coast of Australia, there was an evergreen tree growing. Aboriginal peoples called it “Kindal Kindal”, “Bauple” or “Jindil”. Yes, you guessed it right – that is how the Macadamia tree was originally called. Aboriginal peoples considered Macadamias as a real delicacy. It was eaten on special, ceremonial occasions. The plant was used for intertribal trades, but Macadamia nuts were also perfect as a precious gift (and still are). Macadamia nut oil was used to make ceremonial body paint.

Macadamia trees discovery

A few hundred years ago, Alan Cunningham started working for Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew as a "Botanical Collector". His main responsibility was going around the world and collecting rare plants to enhance the garden's collection. And where can you find the best plants? We all know the answer: Aussieland! That’s exactly where Cunningham went. Apparently, his job description did not require eating any of the specimens, because when he discovered Macadamia trees in 1828, he didn’t try any of their delicious nuts. He arrived in Moreton Bay on ship and then started exploring south and east on horseback. He met local tribes and collected many plants to bring back to the United Kingdom.

Luckily for us, among the plants he brought back to the UK was the Macadamia nut.

Why it is called Macadamia?

Beautiful, medium-sized Macadamia nut trees were growing in the rainforests of south-eastern Queensland (the perfect place for the queen of nuts) and New South Wales in eastern Australia. Queensland is where Walter Hill and Ferdinand Von Mueller, 2 botanists from Europe, first came across them. When they ran into this beautiful tree for the first time, they decided to call it Macadamia. The name honours John Macadam, Scottish-Australian Secretary of the Philosophical Institute of Victoria, von Mueller’s friend and also a fellow scientist. And so, the modern history of the Macadamia nut tree begins.

Amazingly, the tree which Walter Hill planted in 1858... still grows and produces nuts! The tree can be found in the City Botanic Gardens in Brisbane and is now known as the first commercially grown Macadamia nut tree in the world, and the starting point of the Macadamia industry.

Popularization of the macadamia nut

It was still in the 1800s, that the first plantation was put in place in Rous Mill, New South Wales, and soon the commercial production of the nut started. Gnarly!

The end of the century was the beginning of the popularization of the Macadamia nut, even outside of Australia. Robert Jordan, US Navy Captain, loved the nuts so much that he took them back with him to Hawaii. They were planted in his brother’s back yard. Macadamia nut farming became very popular in Hawaii and from there reached the continental United States.

Today, we can enjoy this delicious nut as plant-based Macadamia milk. It’s also used to make cocktails, pastries, and – yep, you guessed it - hair care products.
Find out what the benefits of macadamia nut for hair are and get to know our new SOS Supercharged Moisture Hair Mask - packed with native Australian ingredients.