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Orchard Trees of Rancho Los Cerritos: Macadamia

Articles: Orchard Trees of Rancho Los Cerritos: Macadamia

A young tree of macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia), rooted from the tree on Coronado Island, San Diego. Author’s photograph

Landscape architect Ralph Cornell added only two kinds of nut trees to Llewellyn and Avis Bixby’s Rancho Los Cerritos estate: pecan and macadamia. Only the macadamias were planted in the primary orchard. Macadamias were considered a treat reserved for gardeners in coastal communities until the 1940s, when World War II saw hundreds of thousands of service men and women stationed or stopping over in Hawaii. Once exposed to the flavorful nut, they returned to their distant homes with a demand for the nuts that helped launch an island industry; Hawaii would soon lead the world in macadamia production, until Australia took the lead in 1997.

Native to the Australian rainforests of Queensland and northern New South Wales, macadamias thrive with the regular water, good drainage, and protection from frost and wind provided by their unique habitat. The Aborigines would travel great distances to arrive at the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range from March through June to feast on these ri...


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