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Useful Temperate Plants

Actinidia chinensis

Planch.

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 multipetaloides H.Z.Jiang

Actinidia setosa (H.L.Li) C.F.Liang & A.R.Ferguson

Common Name:

Actinidia chinensis
Fruit of the cultivar Gold3 'Sungold', almost ready for harvesting
Photograph by: Pseudopanax
Public domain
Actinidia chinensis Actinidia chinensis Actinidia chinensis Actinidia chinensis Actinidia chinensis

General Information

Actinidia chinensis is a large, deciduous, climbing shrub producing one or more branched stems that twine into the surrounding vegetation for support. The stems can grow 30 metres long, though are usually much smaller in cultivation[
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.
].
This is the original kiwi fruit from which the cultivated kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa) with its larger fruit was developed. The plant has long been harvested from the wild as a food, and is also ofen cultivated, especially forms known as golden kiwifruits withtheir smooth skins and more golden flesh.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

198
Title
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. Vol. 33.
Publication
 
Author
Li. H. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
A botanical magazine, it contains a monograph of the genus Actinidia. Available to download from the Internet.
,
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.
,
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.

Range

E. Asia - central and southern China, Taiwan.

Habitat

Mountain forests, oak forests, sparse secondary forests, tall grassy thickets on low mountains, thickets at lower elevations; growing on slopes and in ravines; at elevations from 200 - 2,600 metres[
109
Title
Plantae Wilsonae. Vol 1 - 3
Publication
 
Author
Wilson. E. H.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
University Press; Cambridge.
Year
1911 - 1917
ISBN
 
Description
Details of the palnts collected by the plant collector E. H. Wilson on his travels in China. Gives some habitats. Not for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
,
198
Title
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. Vol. 33.
Publication
 
Author
Li. H. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
A botanical magazine, it contains a monograph of the genus Actinidia. Available to download from the Internet.
,
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.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Climber
Height7.50 m
PollinatorsBees, Insects
Self-fertileNo
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of temperate to subtropical areas in China, where it is found at elevations of 200 - 2,600 metres. It succeeds outdoors at least in the warmer areas of the temperate zone. The mature growth can tolerate occasional, short-lived temperatures down to about -15°c, though young growth in the spring is very susceptible to frost damage[
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.
,
184
Title
Shrubs.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1989
ISBN
0-330-30258-2
Description
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1,900 species and cultivars.
].
Prefers a sound loamy neutral soil[
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]).
,
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.
]. Succeeds in semi-shade but full sun is best for fruit production[
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.
].
This species is the parent of the cultivated Kiwi fruits, these cultivars are now included under the name Actinidia deliciosa[
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.
].
Fruits are formed on second year wood and also on fruit spurs 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.
].
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.
].
A dioecious species - both male and female forms must be grown if fruit and seed are required.
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. The fruit is up to 3cm across[
198
Title
Journal of the Arnold Arboretum. Vol. 33.
Publication
 
Author
Li. H. L.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Harvard University
Year
1952
ISBN
-
Description
A botanical magazine, it contains a monograph of the genus Actinidia. Available to download from the Internet.
]. 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 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.
].
Fruit subglobose to cylindric to obovoid or ellipsoidal, 4 - 6 cm long[
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.
].

The leaves are eaten cooked in times of need as 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.
].

A decoction of the leaves is used to treat mange in dogs[
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 stem-juice is used in the treatment of gravel[
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.
].

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.
].

The plant is said to have insecticidal properties (no more details)[
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.
].

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. 2022-11-26. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Actinidia+chinensis>

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