Other Names: Chinese gooseberry, Kivi, Macaque peach, Wood berry
The kiwifruit is borne on a vigorous, woody, twining vine or climbing shrub reaching 9 m. Its alternate, long-petioled, deciduous leaves are oval to nearly circular, cordate at the base 7-12 cm long. Young leaves and shoots are coated with red hairs; mature leaves are dark-green and hairless on the upper surface. The fragrant, dioecious or bisexual flowers, borne singly or in 3's in the leaf axils, are 5- to 6-petalled, white at first, changing to buff-yellow and both sexes have central tufts of many stamens though those of the female flowers bear no viable pollen. The oval or ovoid fruit, up to 6 cm long, with brown skin densely covered with short, stiff brown hairs, is capped at the base with a prominent, 5-pointed calyx. The flesh, firm until fully ripe, is glistening, juicy and luscious, bright-green succulent center from which radiate many fine, pale lines. Between these lines are scattered minute dark-purple or nearly black seeds, unnoticeable in eating.
In addition to eating out-of-hand, they are served as appetizers, in salads, in fish, fowl and meat dishes, in pies, puddings, and prepared as cake-filling. Ice cream may be topped with kiwifruit sauce or slices, and the fruit is used in breads and various beverages. Kiwifruit cannot be blended with yogurt because an enzyme conflicts with the yogurt process.
The branches and leaves are boiled in water and the liquid used for treating mange in dogs.
The kiwifruit vine grows naturally at altitudes between 600-2,000 m with heavy rainfall and an abundance of snow and ice in the winter. Kiwifruit vines in leaf are killed by drops in temperature below -2º C, while dormant mature vines can survive temperatures down to -12º C.
For good growth, the vine needs deep, fertile, moist but well-drained soil, preferably a friable, sandy loam. Heavy soils subject to water logging are completely unsuitable.
From seed, grafting and softwood cuttings.