The History of Beaumont in South Africa

There is a reason why Beaumont (HAES 695) has become the clear leader in cultivar choice in South Africa. A deeper look into the history of the cultivar explains why this is so and why Amorentia Macadamia Nursery chooses to produce hundreds of thousands of Beaumont trees each year.

During the 1930s, thousands of Macadamia cultivars were trialled in Hawaii in search of the highest quality nuts for a commercial industry. The trials were headed by Prof. Bill Storey and followed by Prof. Dick Hamilton. A new Australian selection, NSW44, which was numbered 695 in the HAES gene bank, (later to be given the name Beaumont) was rejected for its inability to naturally drop its own crop. It had passed all other quality tests conducted by the University of Hawaii.

Above: Len’s slide photograph of the John H Beaumont Agricultural research centre in Hawaii

Len Hobson, a well-loved horticulturist in South Africa is known for having pioneered the Macadamia Industry here and for having developed the Papino ® too. During a visit to California for a citrus symposium in 1968, Len visited an important Macadamia trial-planting. Among the trees planted there was the HAES 695 selection. Len also visited the first commercial planting of 695 belonging to the chairman of the Californian Macadamia Society (Col. Wells Miller). Len recalls that the young trees were laden with nuts. After visiting both sites, Len fall in love with Beaumont and he began the preparation to import some material to South Africa.

Once Len had established the 695 mother material in his nursery, he immediately experimented with clonal propagation and realised the importance to pursue the cultivar for commercial use. In his record keeping, he noted that a high quality rootstock coupled with an above – average kernel (and an exceptionally precocious nature) must be a winner if vegetatively propagated properly.

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