From The Plant Encyclopedia
Kiwi, Kiwi Fruit, Kiwifruit, Kiwi Vine, Kiwivine
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- Cultivation: Easy-To-Grow
- Light: Sun
- Soil: Rich
- pH: 7
- Moisture: Medium, Well-Drained
- Form: Vine
- Habit: Deciduous
- Flower: Medium
- Fruit/Seed: Large, Green, Brown
- Foliage: Leaves, Green
- Uses: Edible, Ornamental, Industrial
Actinidia deliciosa or Kiwi Fruit is native to southern China, and has been declared the national fruit of that country.[n] Other species of Actinidia are also found in China and range east to Japan and north into southeastern Siberia. This species grows naturally at altitudes between 600 - 2,000 m.
Description and ecology
Actinidia deliciosa is borne on a vigorous, woody, twining vine or climbing shrub reaching 9 m.
The Black-lyre Leafroller Moth ("Cnephasia" jactatana) is one of the few commercially significant pests of this plant.
Young leaves are coated with red hairs; mature leaves are dark-green and hairless on the upper surface, downy-white with prominent, light-colored veins beneath.
Male and female flowers appear on different plants (dioecious) and both sexes have to be planted in close proximity for fruit set. Bees are normally used by commercial orchards, although the more labour intensive hand pollination is sometimes employed. Male flowers are gathered and processed to extract their pollen. This is then sprayed back on to the female flowers.
The flesh is firm until fully ripen; it is glistening, juicy and luscious. The color of the flesh is bright-green, or sometimes yellow, brownish or off-white, except for the white, succulent center from which radiate many fine, pale lines.
In 1847, Specimens of the plant were collected by the agent for the Royal Horticultural Society, London.
Cultivation spread from China in the early 20th century when seeds were introduced to New Zealand by Isabel Fraser, the principal of Wanganui Girls' College, who had been visiting mission schools in China. The seeds were planted in 1906 by a Wanganui nurseryman, Alexander Allison, with the vines first fruiting in 1910.
People who tasted the fruit then thought it had a gooseberry flavour and began to call it the Chinese Gooseberry, but being from the actinidia family it is not related to the Grossulariaceae (Gooseberry) family.
The familiar cultivar Actinidia deliciosa 'Hayward' was developed by Hayward Wright in Avondale, New Zealand around 1924. This is the most widely grown cultivar in the world. Chinese Gooseberry was initially grown in domestic gardens, but commercial planting began in the 1940s.
In 1959, Turners and Growers named it, Kiwifruit, after New Zealand's national bird, the Kiwi - brown and furry.
Italy is now the leading producer of kiwifruit in the world, followed by New Zealand, Chile, France, Greece, Japan and the United States. Kiwifruit is still produced in its birthplace China, but China has never made it to the top 10 list of kiwifruit producing countries. In China, it is grown mainly in the mountainous area upstream of the Yangtze River.