The tree is an evergreen (stays green all year long). It grows up to 25 feet (7.5 meters) high. It bears groups of small white flowers. It grows best in subtropical (wet and always warm) climates. It needs well drained soil (water can flow away easily) and 40 to 100 inches (1000 to 2500 mm) of rain a year.
The nutmeat (the soft part you can eat, inside the shell) is mostly a creamy white in color, but sometimes looks a bit yellow. It has a flavor that many people like very much. Macadamias are eaten roasted (cooked), or in cookies, cakes, pastries, and candies. People are also starting to use them as part of cooked meals, similar to the way that almonds and cashews are used in oriental cuisine (a style of cooking).
The first commercial orchard was started in Australia in the late 1880s. Commercial production began in Hawaii during the 1920s and after that spread to California, Mexico, and other places with similar climate.