Actinidia

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Actinidia
Temporal range: Middle EoceneRecent; 45–0 Mya
Actinidia kolomikta ('Arctic Beauty')
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Ericales
Family: Actinidiaceae
Genus: Actinidia
Lindl.
Type species
Actinidia callosa [1]
Lindl.

Actinidia /ˌæktɨˈnɪdiə/[2] is a genus of woody and, with few exceptions, dioecious plants native to temperate eastern Asia, occurring throughout most of China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan, and extending north to southeast Siberia and south into Indochina. The genus includes shrubs growing to 6 m (20 ft) tall, and vigorous, strong-growing vines, growing up to 30 m (98 ft) in tree canopies. They mostly tolerate temperatures down to around −15°C (5°F), and some are much hardier.

The leaves are alternate and simple, with a dentated margin and a long petiole. The flowers are solitary or in axillary cymes, usually white, with five small petals. Most of the species are dioecious with separate male and female plants, but some are monoecious. The fruit is a large berry containing numerous small seeds; in most species, the fruit is edible. In particular, this genus is known for the species Actinidia deliciosa, the kiwifruit or Chinese gooseberry, and for the hardy ornamental A. kolomikta.

Species[edit]

The 40–60 species of Actinidia include:

Actinidia spp. fruits
A = A. arguta, C = A. chinensis, D = A. deliciosa, E = A. eriantha, I = A. indochinensis, P = A. polygama, S = A. setosa

Uses[edit]

Kiwifruit is a cultivar group of A. deliciosa, and hardy kiwi is the species Actinidia arguta, which has small fruit weighing 10–15 g (0.35–0.53 oz), with green edible skins and green flesh; it is hardier than A. deliciosa. Some species are grown as ornamental plants, notably A. kolomikta.

In Japan, Actinidia polygama (silver vine) is noted for having an effect on cats much like that of catnip. It is mentioned in the saying 猫にまたたび、女郎に小判 (neko ni matatabi, jorō ni koban, "silver vine to a cat, a coin to a prostitute"), meaning to put someone in a good mood by providing that which they most desire.

A. kolomikta is the hardiest species (to about -40°), and has distinctive white- and pink-variegated foliage even on wild plants, an unusual phenomenon. Its fruit is very small, weighing 8 g (0.28 oz) or less.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Xin-Wei Li & Jian-Qiang Li (2007). "Lectotypification of Actinidia". Nordic Journal of Botany 25 (5–6): 294–295. doi:10.1111/j.0107-055X.2008.00166.x. 
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book, 1995:606–607
  3. ^ Manchester, S.R. (1994). "Fruits and Seeds of the Middle Eocene Nut Beds Flora, Clarno Formation, Oregon". Palaeontographica Americana 58: 30–31. 

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