'Actinidia deliciosa', the fuzzy kiwifruit, is a fruiting vine native to southern China, it has been declared their national fruit. Other species of 'Actinidia' are also found in China and range from east to Japan and into southern areas of the Russian Far East. It grows naturally at altitudes between 1, 800 to 6, 000 feet (600 to 2,000 m).

The oblong fruits are up to 2.4 inches (6.25 cm) long. Their russet-brown skin are densely covered with short, stiff, brown hairs. The firm green flesh has numerous edible purple-black seeds embedded around a white centre. The flavor is suggested to be similar to that of the gooseberry or strawberry.

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.

People who tasted the fruit thought it had a gooseberry flavour, so began to call it the Chinese gooseberry, but being from the genus 'Actinidia', it is not related to the gooseberry family, 'Grossulariaceae'. The familiar cultivar 'Actinidia deliciosa' (Hayward) was developed by Hayward Wright in Avondale, New Zealand, around 1924. This is the most widely grown cultivar in the world. Chinese gooseberry was initially grown in domestic gardens, but commercial planting began in the 1940s. In 1959, Turners and Growers named it kiwifruit, after New Zealand's national bird, the kiwi—brown and furry.

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