ARCTIC KIWI
(Actinidia kolomikta)

 

 

A vine of arctic kiwi

Family: Actinidiaceae

Other names: Miyamamatatabi (Japanese)

Arctic kiwi is native to temperate mixed forests of the Russian Far East, Korea, Japan and Eastern Asiatic Region of China.  It is not only a very long lived vine but is also very cold hardy that can bear low temperature upto -40 degrees Celsius during winter months.

Fruits of arctic kiwi

          Though arctic kiwi bears tasty fruits, yet it is grown more as a garden plant than as an orchard fruit because of its attractive variegated leaves and fragrant flowers.

Description:

 Deciduous large climbing shrubs, upto 7 m; branchlets glabrous, lenticels inconspicuous to subconspicuous when young, conspicuous when old; pith brown, lamellate.

Arctic kiwi has an attractive foliage

            Petiole yellowish white to reddish brown, 2.5-5 cm, sparsely pubescent to glabrous; leaf blade broadly ovate to oblong-ovate or oblong-obovate, 6-15 5-10 cm, membranous to thinly papery, abaxially glabrous to subglabrous, sometimes barbate at vein axils, adaxially sparsely strigillose, mid vein and lateral veins distinct and raised abaxially, slender, inconspicuous adaxially, lateral veins 6-8 pairs, veinlets reticulate, inconspicuous on both surfaces to subconspicuous abaxially, base cordate, occasionally rounded to truncate, equal or oblique, margin serrate to biserrate, apex acute to abruptly acuminate.

 

Arctic kiwi flowers

           Inflorescences cymose, 1-3-flowered; peduncles 0.8-1.2 cm, very slender; pedicels 4-10 mm, glabrous to yellowish brown tomentose; bracts linear, minute. Flowers pink or white. Sepals 5, ovate to oblong-ovate, 4-6 mm, glabrous, margin ciliate, apex acute. Petals 5 or 6, obovate, 6-10 mm. Filaments 3-6 mm; anthers yellow, oblong, 2-2.5 mm, sagittate at base. Ovary globose, ca. 3 mm, glabrous.

          Fruit pale orange when mature, ovoid, 2-2.5 cm, glabrous, lenticels absent; sepals caducous.

          Seeds small, 2 mm, numerous. 

Utilization:

Fruits of arctic kiwi do not have any fuzz like the other kiwis.  These have a pleasant, tart, almost strawberry-like flavor.  These are eaten fresh.  These are also reported to be very rich in vitamin C.

Developing fruits of arctic kiwi

            This plant has very attractive vibrant hot pink and cream splash the jade, heart-shaped leaves. The variegation reaches its showy peak within 2-3 years of planting.  So it planted in gardens as an ornamental plant.

Cultivation:

Arctic kiwi is cultivated in cold temperate regions as an ornamental plant and also for tits fruits. A number of named cultivars are also sold by nurseries in Russia and Poland. It is a dioecious plant and will require male pollenizer vines for bearing. Gradually it is becoming increasingly popular as an edible, deciduous landscape feature as well as a fruit crop.

           The vines do best in moist, well drained soil, and partial shade to full sun. It is fast growing and also makes a good cover on a fence.  

           New plants can be raised by sowing seed in containers in a cold frame in spring or fall. Semi-ripe cuttings in late summer.

 

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