The kiwifruit or Chinese Gooseberry is the fruit of a large woody vine of the genus Actinidia (order Ericales, family Actinidiaceae) that grows in temperate climates. It is marketed worldwide as kiwifruit but is more commonly called kiwi in North America. The most common type of kiwifruit, Actinidia deliciosa, is about the size of a hen's egg (about 6 cm long and 4.5 to 5.5 cm around), and is often not perfectly round. It has a hairy, dull-brown skin that is not usually consumed. Inside, the flesh is bright green with rows of small, black, edible seeds. The texture of the fruit is soft and the flavour is sometimes described as a mix of strawberry, banana, and pineapple. The fruit gets its name from the short straight hairs on its skin, which closely resemble the feathers of the kiwi bird of New Zealand. History: Actinidia deliciosa is native to south-west China, and Actinidia chinensis is very common in the lower elevations of south-east China. Other species of Actinidia are also found in China and range into southeastern Siberia.



 
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Cultivation spread from China in the early 20th century when seeds were introduced to New Zealand by Isabel Fraser, the principal of Wanganui Girls' College, who had been visiting mission schools in China. The seeds were planted in 1906 by a Wanganui nurseryman, Alexander Allison, with the vines first fruiting in 1910. People who tasted the fruit then thought it had a gooseberry flavour and began to call it the Chinese Gooseberry, but being from the actinidia family it is not related to the Grossulariaceae (gooseberry) family. The familiar Actinidia deliciosa "Hayward" cultivar was developed by Hayward Wright in Avondale around 1924. It was initially grown in domestic gardens, but commercial planting began in the 1940s. New Zealand is now the leading producer of kiwifruit, followed by France, the United States, Italy, Spain, and Japan. Kiwifruit is still produced in its birth place in China but China has never made it to the top 10 list of kiwifruit producing countries. In China, it is grown mainly in the mountainous area upstream of Chang Jiang. It is also grown in other areas of China, including Sichuan and Taiwan.

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