Self-fertile Purple Kiwi

jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)September 26, 2008

I have twenty Baker Creek Purple Kiwi seeds. They sound wonderful and suited for this climate!

"(Actinidia melandra) A self-fertile variety that produces sweet, tart-flavored fruit with a unique purple-colored flesh! The vining plants are fast growers and hardy to 20 degrees, and produce 1 1/2" long fruit that will amaze your neighbors."

Has anyone actually grown them?


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I see many places selling seeds from "Actinidia melandra", and they all seem to be just passing on the same wrong information. The species is Actinidia melanandra, and it is not self-fertile (there are NO self-fertile Actinidia species-they are all dioecious). It is hardy to about -20F and the fruit is round and typically .5-1 inch in diameter. There is a selection (1064-79) that was once suspected of being self-fertile, but that was found not to be the case. That misinformation is still being spread around. I have it, but it has not bloomed yet, but I know others who have confirmed it is not self-fertile.

This species is closely related to A. arguta, and most arguta males can pollinate it. 'Kens Red' is a hybrid of A. arguta x A. melanandra, and I would be willing to bet that what you have are in fact 'Kens Red' seeds, as KR does have 1.5 inch long fruits. You will eventually get both male and female plants, which will probably be very similar to A. arguta. They may take 3-5 years or longer to bloom, and considering the lack of credibility regarding the origin of these seeds, you are likely much better off just buying plants of named varieties.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2008 at 12:36PM
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jll0306(9/ Sunset 18/High Desert)

I guess this is another example of "if it seems too good to be true, it is."

I had read that there were no self-fertile kiwis, but thought I had found some kiwi/grape cross or something. oh, darn.

I've got ten seeds started, so I'll see how they do as fence cover, if not as fruit.

Thanks for the expert information!


    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 11:13PM
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Your seedlings may still turn out to be something nice, just not likely to be self-fertile. If one turns out really nice, you can name it.

There are self-fertile kiwi, just not whole species that are self-fertile. Breeders in New Zealand found a self-fertile fuzzy kiwi a few years ago in a batch of 'Hayward' seedlings, and have used it to breed a large number of self-fertile kiwis, although none have been good enough to release so far. These do turn up very rarely, and some day, most cultivated kiwis may be self-fertile. Keep in mind that all wild grapes are also dioecious, with only male and female vines, but nearly all modern cultivars are now self-fertile.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2008 at 5:03PM
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Kiwinut is right. There are self-fertile kiwis. And to tell you from my own observations: There is an A. melandra growing in the botanical garden in Bonn which bears fruits every year without any other Actinidia being close to it. I searched very well. I know that there is also one A. arguata variety that is self-fertile. Its name is Issai.

According to the sources I have seen A. melandra is only hardy to -15ð C. But I don't know if that is true. Maybe somebody else has more information on that.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2010 at 3:39PM
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Can someone get me some purple kiwi seeds? Ty

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 7:36PM
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I believe that the proprietor of One Green World said in a talk last month that they no longer tout Issai as self fertile because it bears so little fruit without a pollenizer that it isn't worth mentioning.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 9:05PM
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