Out of all the macadamia nuts you can buy in the world, 70% originate from a single tree in Australia! The 19th-century macadamia nut tree stands in the small town of Gympie in the Australian state of Queensland. This is a new discovery that was recently published in Frontiers in Plant Science.
The tree is jokingly called the Genghis Khan of macadamia nuts as it spread its DNA across the world. The researchers collected DNA samples from hundreds of trees in Queensland and compared them to the DNA of commercially grown trees in Hawaii, the world’s biggest macadamia nut producer that fulfills 70% of the world’s needs for these nuts. As it turns out, all the Hawaii’s macadamias share the same distinctive markers with a small group of trees in Gympie, which tells us that 70 percent of all the macadamia varieties found in the world can be linked to a single tree in Australia.
As one of the researchers, Craig Hardner, told ABC News, “a small collection of seeds were taken to Hawaiʻi at the end of the 19th century and historical records suggest that there was maybe six trees grown from that sample of nuts that were taken by Robert Jordan and planted in his brothers’ backyard in the suburbs of Honolulu in 1896.”