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 championii Benth.
Actinidia gnaphalocarpa Hayata
Actinidia guilinensis C.F.Liang
Actinidia indochinensis H.L.Li
Actinidia miquelii King
Actinidia tonkinensis H.L.Li
Heptaca latifolia Gardner & Champ.
Actinidia latifolia is a vigorous, deciduous climbing shrub, producing one or more branching stems that scramble over the ground and twine around the branches of other plants for support. The stems can be up to 20 metres long, but more commonly 5 - 9 metres[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
E. Asia - southern China, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia (Sumatra)
Climbing into trees on mountain slopes, valleys, thickets and forests at elevations of 400 - 1,700 metres in China[
]. Rather rare in hill forests at elevations from 900 - 1,500 metres in Malaysia[
A plant of the subtropical zone, entering into the tropics at elevations over 1,000 metres[
]. The plant is found in essentially frost-free climates. In China it grows in an area that has a humid monsoonal climate with distinct wet and dry seasons and a spring that is usually relatively dry. The mean annual rainfall is within the range 1,400 - 2,000mm. The mean annual temperature is around 15°c; with mid-winter mean temperatures usually between 8 - 17°c, and summer temperatures between 11 - 29°c. It is unlikely to succeed outdoors in any but the warmest areas of the temperate zone. It is possible that dormant plants can tolerate some frost, but the young spring growth would be very susceptible to frost damage[
Plants in this genus generally prefer a sound loamy neutral soil[
]. They succeed in semi-shade but full sun is best for fruit production[
]. They prefer 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[
Dioecious. 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. A fairly large fruit, it is 30 - 35mm long and 20 - 25mm wide[
]. This fruit is probably the richest source of vitamin C in the genus, containing an astonishing 671 - 2,140mg per 100g fresh weight (more than 5 times that found in the kiwi fruit (Actinidia deliciosa)[
]. The fully ripe fruit is brown and hairless[
]. It contains a number of small seeds, but these are easily eaten with the fruit[
]. The fruit is borne in clusters of up to 30 fruits[
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.