'Issai' Kiwi seeds--misleading ads?

mark4321_gwOctober 2, 2012


I've noticed recently that there are a number of places selling 'Issai' kiwi seeds. The suggestion is that they will give female, self-fertile plants. I assume this is misleading, and would like to get the feedback of others.

As far as I'm aware 'Issai' produces seedless fruit unless there is a pollinator. So any seedlings produced will be a mix of male and female. It will be several years and large vines until this can be sorted out.

Issai is thought to be a hybrid of Actinidia arguta and another species. Wikipedia suggests that the other parent is polygama, although I've seen other suggestions. So, assuming the male parent is A. arguta, the seedlings would be (Actinidia arguta x polygama?) x Actinidia arguta. This is pretty far removed from the 'Issai' strain.

Would there be any reason at all to expect that the female seedlings would have a stronger tendency to be self-fertile? I don't know anything about the genetics of this, but I would assume not. Does anyone know anything different?

So I assume that if one shells out money for these seeds one can expect a mix of female and male, with female plants that are not self fertile.

I hate to see people ripped off and I would appreciate any input.

Here is a link that might be useful: Example of an Issai Kiwi seed ad

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It's as you describe. Not only will you get a grab bag of mixed-gender progeny but none of them will be "Issai". The chance of parthenocarpy in one of the offspring is probably remote. And, just to further muddy the waters, the less vigorous growth habit of "Issai" (which some will count as a plus) will probably also go by the genetic wayside.

Really, for the price of the "seeds", try Wellspring Gardens (either the ebay store or the direct internet store). You can purchase a small "Issai" starter plant for perhaps $6--or several. These plants *are* quite small and you have to be diligent with them at first (I know from a "learning experience"), but once established they do grow quickly and you will have what you want, not some random throw of the genetic dice.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 4:43PM
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Thanks for the comments. I'm hoping that if someone is thinking about buying these seeds and does a search, he/she will get a dose of reality. My impression is that a lot of these seeds are being sold.

I'm not in the market for 'Issai' myself. I responded to a post in the GW seed exchange for someone looking for these seeds. I thought it would be appropriate to follow up here. I've bought other plants from Wellspring and enthusiastically recommend them.

By the way, Los Osos is the perfect climate for growing some of the more interesting Passifloras, particularly Tacsonias. I'm sure some of the weedy ones grow a little too well there. However, there are some less aggressive ones, for example P. antioquiensis and P. 'Mission Dolores' (parritae x antioquiensis) that can be grown up into a tree and dangle down spectacular flowers and edible fruit. Steve, if you are ever interested in trying one of these, email me. I'm happy to send them to people in the right climates if I have extras. That's not a lot of people, though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Not 'Issai' kiwi, but Passiflora 'Mission Dolores' in SF

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 11:43PM
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