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PNG images: Kiwi

Kiwifruit (often shortened to kiwi) or Chinese gooseberry is the name given to the edible berries of several species of woody vines in the genus Actinidia. The most common cultivar group of kiwifruit is oval, about the size of a large hen's egg (5–8 cm in length and 4.5–5.5 cm in diameter). It has a fibrous, dull greenish-brown skin and bright green or golden flesh with rows of tiny, black, edible seeds. The fruit has a soft texture and a sweet but unique flavor. It is a commercial crop in several countries, such as ItalyNew ZealandChileGreece, and France.

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Early varieties were described in a 1904 nurseryman's catalogue as having "...edible fruits the size of walnuts, and the flavour of ripe gooseberries..." and Europeans called it the Chinese gooseberry.

In 1962, New Zealand growers began calling it "kiwifruit" when exporting; the name becoming commercially adopted in 1974. The word kiwifruit and shortened "kiwi" has been used since around 1966 when the fruit was first imported from New Zealand to the United States.

Kiwifruit has since become a common name for all commercially grown fruit from the genus Actinidia.

In New Zealand, the shortened word "kiwi" is seldom used to refer to the fruit, as it usually refers to the kiwi bird or the Kiwi people.

Kiwifruit is native to north-central and eastern China. The first recorded description of the kiwifruit dates back to the 12th century China during the Song dynasty. Cultivation of the fuzzy kiwifruit spread from China in the early 20th century to New Zealand, where the first commercial plantings occurred. Although kiwifruit is a national fruit of China, until recently, China was not a major producing country of kiwifruit, as it was traditionally collected from the wild. The fruit became popular with American servicemen stationed in New Zealand during World War II and later exported to California using the names "Chinese gooseberry" and "melonette". In 1962, New Zealand growers began calling it "kiwifruit" to give it more market appeal, and a California-based importer named Frieda Caplan subsequently used that name when introducing the fruit to the American market.

In Italy, kiwifruit cultivation began in 1970, growing to rank second in production behind China in 2014.

The genus Actinidia contains around 60 species. Though most kiwifruit are easily recognized as kiwifruit (due to basic shape) their fruit is quite variable. The skin of the fruit varies in size, shape, hairiness, and color. The flesh varies in color, juiciness, texture, and taste. Some fruits are unpalatable while others taste considerably better than the majority of the commercial varieties.

The most common kiwifruit is the fuzzy kiwifruit, from the species A. deliciosa. Other species that are commonly eaten include golden kiwifruit (A. chinensis), Chinese egg gooseberry (A. coriacea), baby kiwifruit (A. arguta), Arctic kiwifruit (A. kolomikta), red kiwifruit (A. melanandra), silver vine (A. polygama), purple kiwifruit (A. purpurea).

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