Sunday, May 2, 2010

Actinidia - Kiwi

A genus of twining, woody stemmed, deciduous vines with edible fruits that are extremely rich in Vitamins. They usually flower in early summer with the male and female flowers on separate plants ( unless noted as "self pollinating" below ) with the female plant later bearing fruits ( recommended 1 male to 3 female ratio within pollinating distance ). Kiwi vines are rarely bothered by pests or disease.
Propagation is from seed sown in fall or spring or semi-ripe cutting taken in summer.
Layering in winter is also an option.

Actinidia arguta ( Hardy Kiwi )
A very vigorous vine native to forests of eastern Asia ( from central China to Manchuria, Korea and Japan ) that can reach up to 50 feet or more. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 20 feet; largest on record - 100 feet.
The toothed rounded leaves reach up to 8 x 7 inches in size though usually around 6 inches. The foliage is deep green.
The flowers are white, up to 0.7 inches across.
The very sweet tasting edible fruits are up to 1.6 inches in length and are smooth unlike the typical Kiwi found in the grocery store. Do not worry, they are every bit as good. This beautiful lush vine is the epitome of edible landscaping, it is known to produce up to 100 pounds of fruit per year. It is also known to bear fruit in as early as 3 years. The fruits do not keep well in the grocery store so this Kiwi is best grown at home where you can enjoy it's fruits right off the vine. The fruits are great on desserts. One male plant can pollinate as many as 8 female plants, they should be planted 15 to 18 feet apart.
Hardy zones 2 to 8 ( Yes you read this right, IT CAN TOLERATE -40 F!!! ) in full sun to partial shade on acidic to neutral, well drained soil.
Not often bothered by pests or disease other than Phytophora root rot which is prevented by planting on well drained soil and Japanese Beetle leaf damage which is minimized by applying Milky Spore to nearby lawn areas. Once fully established, these plants are very easy to grow and trouble free. Everytime I see an out of control Wisteria arbor, I think "Why not plant Kiwi fruit instead?"

* photos taken on August 3 2010 @ University of Guelph Arboretum, Ontario

* photo of unknown internet source

* photo taken on May 7 2014 @ London Town Gardens, Edgewater, MD

subsp 'cordifolia'
Cordate heart shaped leaves

Self pollinating.

* photo taken on Sep 30 2014 in Columbia, MD

A female form with fruits that are much larger than the species. Plant 2 or 3 with a male Actinidia arguta for fruit production.

'Silver Lining'
Vigorous with very attractive foliage that is mid-green variegated with a creamy-white border.
This form is very stable and does not normally revert to all green form.

Actinidia chinensis ( Chinese Kiwi )
Also called the New Zealand Kiwi because it is so commonly grown there however Kiwi did not exist in the island country until it was introduced from its original native range the northern Yangtse river valley in China though now it grows wild in most of southeast China.
The Chinese Kiwi is a very vigorous vine reaching up to 30 feet or more. Some records include: fastest recorded growth rate - 27 feet; largest on record - 50 feet in height.
The large, cordate, heart shaped leaves are up to 12 x 10.3 inches in size.
The Chinese Kiwi leafs out early in spring.
The creamy-white flowers are up to 1.6 inches wide and are followed by tasty, edible, hairy, fruits up to 2 inches long. This is the Kiwi most commonly found in the market however it is the least hardy in cold climates. It is known to produce up to 180 000 pounds of fruit per acre. Known to bear up to 100 pounds of fruit per plant.
Hardy zones 8 to 10 ( 7 on site protected from winter wind )

* photo taken on May 1 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos of unknown internet source

* photos taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

* photos taken by Francine Mason on Feb 2018 in New Zealand


* photos taken on 4th of July 2010 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photo taken on June 23 2013 @ U.S. National Arboretum, DC

The fruits are the largest of any Kiwi being up to 10 oz.

Self-fertile, bearing delicious, fuzzy fruits up to 3 inches in length.
Hardy north to zone 6.

Actinidia kolomikta ( Kolomikta Vine )
A fast growing vine native to coniferous forests of eastern Russia, northern China and Korea, that can reach a maximum height of 44 feet.
The large, cordate, oval leaves are up to 6.3 x 4 inches in size. The mid-green foliage is splashed with white and pink at the tips.
The fragrant, white flowers are up to 0.3 inches across and are followed by small but sweet edible fruits up to 1 inches in length. The smooth skinned, green fruit are sweet with lime green flesh. It is eaten skin and all just like Grapes and is high in fiber and Vitamin C. In fact the fruits of this Kiwi have 20 times the Vitamin C of oranges as well as Potassium in Bananas. One male plant can pollinate up to 8 female plants. It bears as early as the second year and eventually up to 15 pounds per plant.
The stems are a colorful reddish-brown.
Hardy zones 2 to 8 tolerating as low as -45 F and surviving even in interior Alaska. It requires fertile, well drained soil and prefers mid day shade where summers are hot though in cooler climates thrives in sun or partial shade. Easy to grow and rarely bothered by pests or disease.

* photo taken on May 8 2010 @ McCrillis Gardens, Bethesda, MD

* photo taken by Dr. Nick V. Kurzenko @ CalPhotos

* historical archive photo

Fruits are twice the size, weighing up to 8 grams.

Actinidia pilosula ( Rosy Crabapple Kiwi )
Also called Actinidia tetramera var maloides. A very beautiful, fast growing, twining vine, reaching up to 25 feet, that is a rare native of Yunnan Province in China.
The lance-shaped leaves are deep green above, white beneath.
The pink flowers, up to 0.7 inches across, are borne during early summer.
They are followed by edible fruits. Hardy zones 6 to 9 ( possibly colder ) in full sun to partial shade on well drained soil on a protected site.

Actinidia polygama
A fast growing twining vine, reaching up to 20 x 25 feet, that is native to the hardwood forests of Russia's far east, Korea and most of Japan.
The leaves are up to 5 inches in length. The foliage is luxuriant mid-green.
The large, white flowers, up to 0.2 inches wide, appear during early summer.
The unique, smooth fruits, up to 1.6 x 0.6 inches are light orange, oval and pointed and are fleshy and sweet tasting. This plant is known to bear up to 30 pounds of fruit per plant. The fruits are eaten seeds and all.
They are extremely rich in Vitamin C ( 5 times that of Black Currant ).
The leaf powder has been found to inhibit the spread of cancer in small animals and may hold potential for humans. The leaves are also a mild hullucinogen when consumed in large quantities. In addition, the leaves contain a substance that is very attractive to cats.
Hardy zones 3 to 7 ( hardy to -40 F!!! ) in sun or partial shade. Excellent for use in covering fences and lattice.

* photos taken by Dr. Nick V. Kurzenko @ CalPhotos

'Vera's Pride'
Attractive large, silvery-white foliage.

Actinidia purpurea ( Purple Kiwi )
An interesting plant even I've never seen. This Kiwi supposedly bears excellent crops of striking sweet deep red fruits with red flesh.
Fruits up to 1 ounce in weight.

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