Actinidia, Kiwi Tree, Actinidia chinensis
climbing shrub of the family actanidiaceae
the word "kiwi" is of Maori origin. It means the bird symbol of New Zealand. The kiwi tree was introduced to New Zealand in the early twentieth century, it seems that its name comes from the "Kiwi" bird. Actinidia means "small radius". The many styles of the flower form a star radieus; chinensis means Chinese or from China.
Habitat: The kiwi tree needs sunny position. It prefers a limestone and permeable soil.
Hardiness: zone 8 (it supports cold until -12 °C or 10 °F).
Height: 9 m of length.
Deciduous foliage. Leaves alternate, simple, rounded form (a bit as that of the hazel), of 9 on 11 cm long. The margin is ciliate or toothed.
Flowers in summer: clusters (cymes or corymbs) white flowers which turn yellow. The kiwi is dioecious: male and female are on distinct feet. The corolla includes 5 sepals and 5 petals.
Fruits: oblong berries from 4 to 7 cm long, weighing 30 - 100 gr, with hirsute epidermis, or even harsh, of brown colour. It matures in winter. The pulp is pale green, acidulous, juicy, soft and sweet. The fruit is the edible kiwi. It contains many small fine seeds.
Use: the kiwi tree was planted in France in 1980's to compete with the importation of kiwis from New Zealand. It appreciates humid and hot climates with mild temperature in winter. The Southwest adopted it. Sleepers of wooden railway and other recovery posts, as stakes, were used to carry this creeper. It is guided at a height compatible with the harvest. To get fruits, it is necessary to cultivate male young plants and female young plants.
The kiwi is rich in vitamin C and in potassium, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
Advices of planting:
The Actinidia is satisfied with a poor soil, possibly limestone. We may add the land of limestone or sand. We must keep the soil moist in winter and summer watering.
Pruning : after the blossoming, or at the end of winter (March), remove the surplus of stems with 2-3 eyes of the main branches.
Actinidia chinensis 'Atlas ': This male variety does not produce fruits. She allows to pollinate several female subjects put nearby, which will produce fruits.
Actinidia arguta: the fruit is smaller than that of Actinidia chinensis, with a smooth soft green epidermis of a colour. It matures in July-August. It is used without picking him. The flesh is sweet, fine and sweet-scented, less sour than that of the winter kiwi.