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Kiwifruit

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This article is about the fruit. For the bird, see Kiwi
Kiwifruit
Kiwifruit.jpg
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Actinidia chinensis

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Image Description

Kiwifruit, also known as the Chinese gooseberry, is a small, edible fruit grown in sunny areas of the world. Though mainly grown in Chile and Italy, they can be exported to any place in the world after they have ripened. Kiwi was first discovered in China, and is still thought of as their national fruit even to this day. [1] The kiwi was discovered about 700 years ago, but didn't gain popularity in North America until a few decades ago. The kiwi generally requires a long growing season, and any sudden change in temperature can kill the plant. They need nitrogen rich soil, and plenty of moisture for their fibrous root system.[2] Though some diseases of pests feed on the kiwi, it is not enough to destroy them. Kiwi is extremely healthy because it is rich in many vitamins and minerals.

Contents

Anatomy

Kiwi fruits flowers

Kiwi is covered with brown, fuzzy, edible skin, but the skin does not attract too many people to eat. They are about 3-4 inches in length on average, close to the size of a large egg. Inside the kiwi, there are about 1,400 tiny black seeds that are both nutritious and edible. [3] In the very center there is an off-white core, and the seeds are covered by a bright green flesh. [4] The leaves are attached to red petioles and can range in size from 2 to 5 inches in length. In diameter, the flowers are only about 1/2 of an inch that are an off-white color. Kiwis have separate male and female plants. [5]

Reproduction

Kiwi needs 240 days without frost to be able to grow. They need a long period of good weather for growing season to happen successfully. When dormant, kiwis can withstand temperatures of about 10 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. If cold hits these plants hard, the vine may be damaged. Because of this, kiwi must adapt to the cold weather gradually. If there are late winter freezings, exposed buds will die. Any drastic changes in temperature may cause trunk splitting. [6] The kiwi flowers are mainly insect pollinated. When kiwifruit are planted commercially, there must be 1 male to about 9 females to be able to reproduce. Also, there must be a plentiful amount of beehives where the kiwis are grown for there to be enough pollination. [7]

Ecology

Kiwi Orchard

Kiwi usually prefers sun, but can grow with some shade. If kiwi is grown in any sort of desert climate, it will usually die. Any gusts or spring winds may also snap off the vines of kiwifruit. Kiwi has to grow on some sort of acidic, organic soil. If the soil is too salty or too basic, it will not grow.[8] The plant needs a sufficient amount of nitrogen. There is typically 150 pounds of nitrogen per acre, at a minimum. [9] If the plant does not get enough water, then the kiwi will surely die of drought. The kiwi is a woody, climbing shrub. [10] It naturally grows at an elevation of 2,000 and 6,500 feet. In California, kiwi grows easily where peaches and almonds are grown. [11] Kiwifruit has a fibrous root system that needs to grow on level land, to get a good amount of moisture. A kiwi orchard needs approximately 40 inches of water per year to be able to grow. The actual kiwifruit usually ripens in November. [12] Winter can cause a lot of damage to kiwi, so to keep it from being destroyed, it should be planted on the north side of a building with pine straw around the base. Not many insects or pests are attracted to destroying the kiwifruit. Nematodes have been found on the roots of kiwi, but no serious damage has been seen before. Japanese beetles have also been known to feed on kiwis, but they often prefer other plants instead. [13]

History

Kiwi is a very popular fruit in many cultures that has just been discovered not too long ago. Kiwi is native to Southern China, and is considered to be their national fruit.[14] Kiwifruit has been in China for about 700 years, but was just recently brought to North America a few decades ago. [15] When first discovered, they were known as the "sunny peach" or "macaque peach". In the 20th century, Isabel Frasier introduced this "sunny peach" to New Zealand after coming back from a missionary trip. The first seed was planted by Alexander Allison, and the fruit was collected in 1910. In 1920, the fruit started to become extremely popular, and was being sold by many harvestmen. In 1952, England got its first batch of kiwis. A company in Auckland officially named the sunny peach "kiwi" in 1958, and sent out cases of this exotic fruit to California. Italy, New Zealand, and Chile are a few of the top producers of kiwi presently. [16]

Health Benefits

The kiwifruit is extremely beneficial to peoples' health. Surprisingly, the kiwi has twice as much Vitamin C as the orange does and 20% more potassium than a banana. By eating just two kiwifruit, you get 230% of your recommended daily value for Vitamin C. Kiwi provides damage protection for DNA against things like cancer. Not only does it protect, but it also quickly repairs DNA. The kiwifruit also lowers blood clots and the amount of fats in your blood. Kiwi is not only rich in calcium, but also in minerals and vitamins like Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese, Chromium, Vitamin E, Lutein, and dietary fibers. [17]

Kiwi can also help with respiratory illnesses. Kiwi contains flavonoids that protect our cells. These flavonoids help reduce wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and runny nose. The high fiber content in kiwifruit prevents colon cancer by controlling sugar levels. [18]

Gallery

References

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