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[
], with some later amendments[
Actinidia kengiana Metcalf
Actinidia subglaucifolia Metcalf
Actinidia hemsleyana is a deciduous, climbing shrub producing one or more branched stems that twine into the surrounding vegetation for support or scramble over the ground to form impenetrable thickets. The stems can be 10 metres or more long[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
E. Asia - southeast China.
Low mountain forests, thickets on mountain slopes, at elevations from 500 - 900 metres in Fujian, Jiangxi and Zhejiang[
A plant of warm temperate to subtropical areas in China, where it is found at elevations of 500 - 900 metres. It grows in an area where the mean annual temperature is within the range 16.9 - 19°c, with maximum temperatures reaching 40°c in summer and the minimum winter temperature down to -9.6°c. In these regions there are 230 - 317 frost-free days. The annual rainfall is 1,100 - 2,100 mm. It is likely to succeed outdoors at least in the warmer areas of the temperate zone. The mature growth can tolerate at least some frost, though young growth in the spring is very susceptible to frost damage[
Prefers a sound loamy neutral soil[
]. Succeeds in semi-shade but full sun is best for fruit production[
]. Prefers a sheltered position[
Fruits are formed on second year wood and also on fruit spurs on older wood[
], any pruning is best carried out in the winter[
Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[
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[
Fruit - raw or cooked. The cylindrical fruit is free from hairs when fuly ripe and is up to 30mm x 15mm[
]. It contains a number of small seeds, but these are easily eaten with the fruit[
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse[
]. It is probably best if the seed is given 3 months stratification[
], 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[
]. 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[
]. Most seedlings are male[
]. The seedlings are subject to damping off, they must be kept well ventilated[
Cuttings of softwood as soon as ready in spring in a frame[
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, mid summer in a frame. Very high percentage[
Cuttings of ripe wood, autumn in a frame.