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Macadamia Macadamia

FAMILY: PROTEACEAE (Protea Family)

If you always thought macadamia nuts were from Hawaii, you're only partially right. The delicious, hard-to-crack nuts are actually natives of Australia, but ever since William Purvis brought the first macadamia trees to Hawaii in 1882, they've been increasingly cultivated in the Aloha State. Today, in fact, almost 90 percent of the world's macadamia nuts hail from the groves of Hawaii. That percentage may decrease as tropical African and Latin American countries and even our own San Diego County farms begin competing in the lucrative macadamia nut market. The startup costs can be steep, however. Macadamia nuts take seven years to ripen and are not harvested until they fall to the ground.

Humans aren't the only ones who value macadamia trees. If you look closely at this picture, you'll notice a hummingbird has made her nest in this macadamia in the San Diego Zoo's Sun Bear Forest.