Family: Actinidiaceae

Originally from East Asia, these decorative climbers have open, usually white, blossoms and berry fruits which can be edible or poisonous, depending on the species. The genus includes the edible kiwi fruit, A. chinensis.


A. arguta, zone 5, grows vigorously, reaching the tops of tall trees. It has large, shiny green leaves and white flowers tinged with green in midsummer. The fruit of this species is edible, with a pleasant, though somewhat acid taste.

A. deliciosa, Chinese gooseberry or kiwi fruit, zone 8, comes from the Yangtze Valley in China. It grows less vigorously but is more decorative, with large, heart-shaped leaves and creamy white flowers. The egg-shaped fruits, covered with reddish hairs, are edible, quite delicious and now grown in warm areas around the world.

A. kolomikta, zone 5, is grown mainly for its decorative foliage which is bright metallic green in spring, developing pink and white markings later in the season. The midsummer white blossoms are fragrant.

A. polygama, silver vine, zone 6, has very pale decorative leaves and white flowers. The fruit is considered a delicacy in Japan where it is eaten salted.


Grow in sun or semi-shade and propagate from seed sown in spring, by cutting or by layering in early spring. Plant vines of both sexes close together if fruits are required. One male vine is usually enough to pollinate six to eight female vines.


Suitable for zones 5 to 8 depending on species.

Acradenia      Actinodium