Nuts find a new home in Noosa

IT WAS once a symbol of growing up in Queensland, when kids would risk flattened thumbs cracking open one of nature's treasures from a backyard tree.

Now the macadamia, or Queensland nut tree as it was known back then, is making a special appearance at the botanic gardens in Cooroy.

The Macadamia Conservation Trust has been working with Sunshine Coast Council to present four endangered species as a special feature of the Noosa Botanic Garden, and they recently came together for this special "gifting".

This is the first time they have been displayed together in the region, with each tree originating from our rainforests.

"The wild trees highlight the real risk of extinction in the future and the need for conservation," conservation team leader Dr Michael Powell said.

"The Sunshine Coast hinterland is the natural habitat of both macadamia integrifolia, the main commercial species and macadamia ternifolia, sometimes called the Maroochy Nut, and we are seeking to work with council to survey and protect these vulnerable wild trees.

"It is believed that these trees and their signs will add to the Gardens and as they grow become of increasing interest to the community.

"It is also an opportunity for the Australian macadamia industry to acknowledge this Queensland icon and to celebrate our place in the history and culture of Queensland.

"There is a lack of public awareness of the wild macadamia species and an ever-increasing number of threats to their existence.

"They are highly vulnerable to risks like fire, weeds, vandalism, urban sprawl and population growth," Dr Powell said.

He said the display highlighted the real risk of extinction in the future while allowing the public to view and appreciate some beautiful indigenous flora.

"The University of the Sunshine Coast has undertaken research into the genetics of macadamia conservation and leads the reintroduction of the threatened species macadamia jansenii," he said.

The Noosa Botanic Gardens now plays an important role in the survival of this plant and the display will help to raise awareness about the need to better protect wild macadamia trees.

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