Macadamia tetraphylla is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 16 metres tall, but is usually smaller. The plant has long, narrow, thorny leaves.
The tree is particularly valued for its edible seed, considered by many to be one of the most delicious seeds in the world. The seed of this species is not as good a quality as the seed of M. Integrifolia and so the plant is less important commercially. It is cultivated for its edible seed in many tropical and sub-tropical areas, particularly Hawaii.