Hardy kiwi, Actinidia arguta

Actinidia arguta is a very hardy, perennial vine species. The plant produces a small fruit that gives the species its common names: Hardy kiwifruit, Kiwi berry, Arctic kiwi, Baby kiwi, Desert kiwi, Grape kiwi, Northern kiwi and Cocktail kiwi. A. arguta is a member of the Actinidiaceae family. The plant can be found growing in Japan, Korea, Northern China and Russian Siberia.

A. arguta fruits are edible and don’t require peeling. Its fruit is typically the size of a berry or grape and it may be green or brownish in color, although sometimes purple varieties are found. The fruit does have a thin “skin” and it is smooth and leathery to the touch. For fruits to grow both male and female plants are required for pollination. A single individual vine may produce up to 100 pounds of fruit in a single year.

Actinidia arguta grows quickly and is often seen in cultivation. In the proper conditions, vines may grow up to 20 feet long in just one season. Conditions best for cultivation include well-drained/acidic soil, full sunlight and the ability to consume large amounts of water. It’s fairly easy to grow but close attention must be paid to winter frost and chill periods in order to ensure successful cultivation. From seed, germination happens rather rapidly, approximately 1 month.

Image Caption: Hardy kiwi, Actinidia arguta. Credit: Björn Appel/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)