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Useful Temperate Plants

Actinidia deliciosa

(A.Chev.) C.F.Liang & A.R.Ferguson

Actinidiaceae


The classification of the genus Actinidia is difficult and the taxonomy of some taxa is still confusing. Various studies since 1984 have estimated the genus to comprise anywhere between 54 - 76 species. The species of Actinidia are highly variable in their vegetative structures, as well as in their flowers and fruits, which is the main reason for the difficulty in the classification of the genus. A detailed study of the genus, based on a wide range of specimens, is needed to clarify the situation and it could be many more years of work until a natural classification system is found - Xinwei LI, Jianqiang LI, Djaja Djendoel SOEJART; Advances in the study of the systematics of Actinidia Lindley; Front. Biol. China 2009, 4(1): pp 55 - 61.
The treatment followed here is based mainly on the Flora of China[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
], with some later amendments[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Actinidia chinensis chlorocarpa C.F.Liang

Actinidia chinensis deliciosa (A.Chev.) A.Chev.

Actinidia chinensis hispida C.F.Liang

Actinidia chinensis longipila C.F.Liang & R.Z.Wang

Actinidia latifolia deliciosa A.Chev.

Common Name: Kiwi Fruit

Actinidia deliciosa
Rows of heavily fruiting kiwifruit plants growing in an orchard - viewed from below
Photograph by: Pseudopanax
Public domain
Actinidia deliciosa Actinidia deliciosa Actinidia deliciosa Actinidia deliciosa Actinidia deliciosa Actinidia deliciosa

General Information

Actinidia deliciosa is a large deciduous, climbing shrub producing producing one or more branched stems that twine into the surrounding vegetation for support or scramble over the ground where they can form dense thickets[
1056
Title
Genetic Resources of Kiwifruit: Domestication and Breeding
Publication
Horticultural Reviews; Vol. 33
Author
A. Ross Ferguson; Hongwen Huang
Publisher
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Year
2007
ISBN
978-0-471-73214-3
Description
A very detailed look at the horticultural prospects of kiwifruits (Actinidia species).
].
The Kiwi fruit is widely grown both commercially and in gardens for its edible fruit, which is traded internationally.

Known Hazards

Generally a very wholesome and healthy food, the fruit does contain relatively high quantities of the highly active proteolytic enzyme actinidin. This does not seem to be a major health hazard for most people, but it can cause damage to the lips (especially at the corners of the mouth) although usually only if very large quantities of fruit are eaten[
1056
Title
Genetic Resources of Kiwifruit: Domestication and Breeding
Publication
Horticultural Reviews; Vol. 33
Author
A. Ross Ferguson; Hongwen Huang
Publisher
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Year
2007
ISBN
978-0-471-73214-3
Description
A very detailed look at the horticultural prospects of kiwifruits (Actinidia species).
]. Peeling large numbers of fresh fruit can result in skin loss if hands are not protected[
1056
Title
Genetic Resources of Kiwifruit: Domestication and Breeding
Publication
Horticultural Reviews; Vol. 33
Author
A. Ross Ferguson; Hongwen Huang
Publisher
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Year
2007
ISBN
978-0-471-73214-3
Description
A very detailed look at the horticultural prospects of kiwifruits (Actinidia species).
].
Some people have a sensitivity to the actinidin and are unable to eat the fruit[
1056
Title
Genetic Resources of Kiwifruit: Domestication and Breeding
Publication
Horticultural Reviews; Vol. 33
Author
A. Ross Ferguson; Hongwen Huang
Publisher
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Year
2007
ISBN
978-0-471-73214-3
Description
A very detailed look at the horticultural prospects of kiwifruits (Actinidia species).
].

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

E. Asia - southern China

Habitat

Mountain slopes in relatively damp, shady or semi-shady areas in gullies, especially along streams, under the tree canopy, or on the edge of the forest, or in clearings in mixed evergreen-deciduous forests[
1056
Title
Genetic Resources of Kiwifruit: Domestication and Breeding
Publication
Horticultural Reviews; Vol. 33
Author
A. Ross Ferguson; Hongwen Huang
Publisher
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Year
2007
ISBN
978-0-471-73214-3
Description
A very detailed look at the horticultural prospects of kiwifruits (Actinidia species).
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Climber
Height9.00 m
Growth RateMedium
PollinatorsBees, Insects
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusCultivated

Cultivation Details

Actinidia deliciosa is a fairly hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c when fully dormant, although young growth in the spring is very subject to damage by late frosts and can be killed back at -2°c[
160
Title
Wonder Crops. 1987.
Publication
 
Author
Natural Food Institute,
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fascinating reading, this is an annual publication. Some reports do seem somewhat exaggerated though.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
1056
Title
Genetic Resources of Kiwifruit: Domestication and Breeding
Publication
Horticultural Reviews; Vol. 33
Author
A. Ross Ferguson; Hongwen Huang
Publisher
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Year
2007
ISBN
978-0-471-73214-3
Description
A very detailed look at the horticultural prospects of kiwifruits (Actinidia species).
]. Plants requires a 6 - 8 month frost-free growing season[
160
Title
Wonder Crops. 1987.
Publication
 
Author
Natural Food Institute,
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fascinating reading, this is an annual publication. Some reports do seem somewhat exaggerated though.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. They also require a winter chilling of 600 - 1,100 hours below 7°c and a long warm summer in order to ripen the fruit[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Prefers a sound loamy acid soil, it dislikes alkaline soils and becomes chlorotic at pH 6 or higher[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.5 to 7.3. Succeeds in semi-shade but full sun is best for fruit production[
3
Title
Growing Unusual Fruit.
Publication
 
Author
Simmons. A. E.
Publisher
David & Charles; Newton Abbot.
Year
1972
ISBN
0-7153-5531-7
Description
A very readable book with information on about 100 species that can be grown in Britain (some in greenhouses) and details on how to grow and use them.
,
126
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 6. 1984 - 1985.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants including Actinidia and Wisteria species.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prefers a sheltered position[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Does well when grown into trees[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Plants fruit on second year wood or on fruit spurs produced on older wood[
126
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 6. 1984 - 1985.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants including Actinidia and Wisteria species.
], any pruning is best carried out in the winter[
219
Title
Gardening on Walls
Publication
 
Author
Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V.
Publisher
Collins
Year
1983
ISBN
0-00-219220-0
Description
A nice little book about plants for growing against walls and a small section on plants that can grow in walls.
]. The flowers are sweetly scented[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
].
A very ornamental plant[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
], it is widely cultivated in warm temperate zones for its edible fruit, there are many named varieties[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The fruit can store for up to 9 months at 0°c with a relative humidity of 90%, but under domestic conditions 4 - 6 weeks is optimal[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Plants have been seen with very good crops of fruit at the Hillier Arboretum in Hampshire, England in several autumns. These plants had outgrown their planned supports and had climbed 15 metres or more into neighbouring trees. The main problem with them would be how to harvest the fruit, since almost all of it was at the tops of the plant[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The female cultivar 'Heywood' is the most commonly cultivated form in Britain (1993), its fruits store well but it tends to flower late and there can be problems with pollination[
126
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 6. 1984 - 1985.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants including Actinidia and Wisteria species.
].
The cultivar 'Blake' is said to be fast cropping and self-fertile[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The male 'Tomurii' is free-flowering and disease-resistant[
202
Title
Climbers and Wall Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Davis. B.
Publisher
Viking.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-670-82929-3
Description
Contains information on 2,000 species and cultivars, giving details of cultivation requirements. The text is terse but informative.
].
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Plants are usually dioecious, but hermaphrodite forms are known. However, the fruit quality and yield of these hermaphrodite forms is usually inferior[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. Male and female plants must usually be grown if seed is required, one male to five or six females is normally adequate.
Female plants produce morphologically perfect flowers with well-developed pistils and stamens, but their stamens produce nonviable pollen; flowers of male plants have small, rudimentary ovaries without viable ovules but their stamens release viable pollen[
1056
Title
Genetic Resources of Kiwifruit: Domestication and Breeding
Publication
Horticultural Reviews; Vol. 33
Author
A. Ross Ferguson; Hongwen Huang
Publisher
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Year
2007
ISBN
978-0-471-73214-3
Description
A very detailed look at the horticultural prospects of kiwifruits (Actinidia species).
].

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw or cooked. A delicious flavour[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
3
Title
Growing Unusual Fruit.
Publication
 
Author
Simmons. A. E.
Publisher
David & Charles; Newton Abbot.
Year
1972
ISBN
0-7153-5531-7
Description
A very readable book with information on about 100 species that can be grown in Britain (some in greenhouses) and details on how to grow and use them.
,
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
105
Title
Tanaka's Cyclopedia of Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Tanaka. T. & Nakao S.
Publisher
Keigaku Publishing; Tokyo
Year
1976
ISBN
-
Description
The most comprehensive list of edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
], the fruit can be up to 8cm long, it is very juicy when fully ripe and has a refreshing, acid flavour[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. It contains a number of small seeds, but these are easily eaten with the fruit[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Rich in vitamin C[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. Fresh fruits contain 100 - 420mg vitamin C per 100g and 8 - 14% carbohydrate[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
]. Acidity is 1 - 2%, mainly citric acid[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
]. The fruit ripens in November and can store for 3 - 4 months[
132
Title
Fruits of the Earth.
Publication
 
Author
Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Lovely pictures, a very readable book.
]. Yields of 8 - 30 tonnes per hectare are possible[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].
Leaves are a famine food[
179
Title
Famine Foods listed in the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao.
Publication
 
Author
Reid. B. E.
Publisher
Southern Materials Centre; Taipei
Year
1977
ISBN
-
Description
A translation of an ancient Chinese book on edible wild foods. Fascinating.
].

Medicinal

The fruits, stems and roots are diuretic, febrifuge and sedative[
147
Title
A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Running Press; Philadelphica.
Year
1977
ISBN
0-914294-92-X
Description
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
]. They are used in the treatment of stones in the urinary tract, rheumatoid arthralgia, cancers of the liver and oesophagus[
147
Title
A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Running Press; Philadelphica.
Year
1977
ISBN
0-914294-92-X
Description
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
].

Other Uses

Paper is made from the bark[
178
Title
Chinese Materia Medica.
Publication
 
Author
Stuart. Rev. G. A.
Publisher
Taipei. Southern Materials Centre
Year
1911
ISBN
-
Description
A translation of an ancient Chinese herbal. Fascinating.
].

If the bark is removed in one piece from near the root and placed in hot ashes, it becomes very hard and can be used as a tube for a pencil[
178
Title
Chinese Materia Medica.
Publication
 
Author
Stuart. Rev. G. A.
Publisher
Taipei. Southern Materials Centre
Year
1911
ISBN
-
Description
A translation of an ancient Chinese herbal. Fascinating.
].

Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse[
133
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1987
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
]. It is probably best if the seed is given 3 months stratification[
113
Title
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
Publication
 
Author
Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W.
Publisher
Athens Ga. Varsity Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0942375009
Description
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
], either sow it in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in late autumn or as soon as it is received. Fresh seed germinates in 2 - 3 months at 10°c, stored seed can take longer[
133
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1987
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. When the plants are 30cm or more tall, plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Most seedlings are male[
126
Title
The Plantsman. Vol. 6. 1984 - 1985.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Royal Horticultural Society
Year
1984
ISBN
-
Description
Excerpts from the periodical giving cultivation details and other notes on some of the useful plants including Actinidia and Wisteria species.
]. The seedlings are subject to damping off, they must be kept well ventilated[
113
Title
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
Publication
 
Author
Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W.
Publisher
Athens Ga. Varsity Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0942375009
Description
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
].
Cuttings of softwood as soon as ready in spring in a frame[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame. Very high percentage[
113
Title
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation.
Publication
 
Author
Dirr. M. A. and Heuser. M. W.
Publisher
Athens Ga. Varsity Press
Year
1987
ISBN
0942375009
Description
A very detailed book on propagating trees. Not for the casual reader.
].
Cuttings of ripe wood, autumn in a frame.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-10-20. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Actinidia+deliciosa>

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