Actinidia (Actinidiaceae)

The name aeriva from the Greek aktís «ray» alluding to the radiated stigmas of the female flower.

Variegations in the elegant foliage of Actinidia kolomikta, appreciated especially for sweet fruits, rich in vitamin C.
Variegations in the elegant foliage of Actinidia kolomikta, appreciated especially for sweet fruits, rich in vitamin C.

Cultivated species of Actinidia:

the genus Actinidia includes more than thirty Asian lianose species, almost always ornamental; only two or three of these are here and there in the Italian gardens; there. witty is the most vigorous; it has large glossy leaves and greenish white flowers at the beginning of summer; Actinidia kolomikta is appreciated for the beautiful leaves, the sarmentose bearing and the sweet fruits that the Russians call “Amur grape-thorns”; this species has the characteristic of exciting cats, rather than the nepeta, the valerian and the liatris, all endowed with this curious prerogative; Actinidia polygama, on the other hand, is characterized by the silvery leaves present in the still young male specimens. It is not hazardous to foresee a greater diffusion of the. chinensis. This species, in addition to making use of an interesting, wide foliage enlivened by a reddish down on the petioles and young vegetations, produces, in autumn, more or less cylindrical fruits (about 7 x 4 cm) with a very pleasant taste comparable to that of grapes plug. The dual characteristic of ornamental and fruiting plants should already be sufficient elements to arouse the interest of gardeners, but the list of the qualities of the. chinensis is still full of surprises. Among the most appreciated, we find the great vegetative vigor (the sarments can exceed ten meters in length) and the adaptability of the plant to very different climates; in fact, during a period of vegetative rest, the plant – devoid of foliage – survives intense frosts (it can only suffer damage from late frosts), while we see it thrive equally well in the warm climate of New Zealand. These valid characteristics are very small compared to the high doses of vitamin C present in mature fruits. In places with harsh winters, the harvest coincides with the fall of the leaves; the product is then repaired in a cool room (from + 2 ° C to + 5 ° C); to avoid the dispersion of moisture and the consequent wrinkling, the fruits are placed in plastic or “Kraft” paper bags. Consumption may take place during the winter. In areas where frosts are rare and of very short duration, fruits can remain advantageously on the plant and harvesting can take place between December and February. The first fruiting is irrelevant in quantity and size; after another three years, the production will reach 25 kilograms per plant (about 500 fruits); after the 15th year, you can also touch 100 kilograms with an average yield per hectare of 25 tons and more.


the male and female flowers are present in distinct plants; this characteristic prevents a plant grown in isolation from being able to bear fruit. It is essential to place at least a plant with female flowers (receptive of pollen) and a male plant (providing pollen). In the case of income crops, it is necessary and sufficient to cultivate a male specimen in the immediate vicinity of ten to twelve female plants, as the pollen is produced with extraordinary abundance and numerous insects ensure fertilization. The distance between one plant and another – at the plant – will be about three meters. Full sun exposures in hot regions are to be avoided. Perhaps the most felt among the few needs of the. it is that of fresh soil, even and especially in the summer. That said, all the elements considered here suggest that the A. can find ideal conditions of life in almost all Italian regions.