In a nutshell: how the macadamia became a ‘vulnerable’ species


Australia’s nut trees have been added to the IUCN’s red list of threatened species as numbers in the wild dwindle

When Ian McConachie was growing up in postwar Queensland, his aunt had macadamia nut trees in her back yard. She told him that one day the trees would be famous. More than 70 years later she has been proved right – the Australian nut is a delicacy prized in kitchens around the world.

But this week the macadamia came to the world’s attention for another reason: Macadamia integrifolia, or the Queensland nut tree, was listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list of threatened species “on account of its population size, suspected at potentially fewer than 1,000 mature individuals”. Its endangered relative, Macadamia ternifolia, has previously been listed on the IUCN red list of threatened plants, as the four macadamia species indigenous to Australia come under significant environmental pressure.

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