Observations of honeybees on Chinese Gooseberries ('Kiwifruit') in New Zealand

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Bee World Vol.65 (4) 1984 pp. 155-166
Article Title

Observations of honeybees on Chinese Gooseberries ('Kiwifruit') in New Zealand


D Jay and C Jay


The Chinese Gooseberry (Actinidia chinensis Planch), commonly called Yang Tao or Mi Hou Tao ('monkey peach') in China and 'kiwifruit' in other parts of the world, is a deciduous fruiting vine that is indigenous to south-east Asia but is particularly common in the forested regions of the Yangtze Valley. The vine grows best in well sheltered, well drained soils, in bright sunshine and with high annual rainfall (i.e. 1250-2500 mm distributed throughout the year). It tolerates winter frosts, and in fact requires chilling during the dormant period. Light frosts however damage spring growth and maturing fruits. Kiwifruit is grown in over a dozen countries but only New Zealand, California, Japan and France have extensive plantings. Kiwifruit seed was brought into New Zealand from China in about 1906, but commercial production of this crop only began in about 1940. New Zealand now leads the world in area planted (c. 11, 600 ha in 1983), and in expertise in producing, handling and exporting kiwifruit. In 1983, kiwifruit production in New Zealand was estimated at 53,000 tonnes of which about 39,750 tonnes was exported as follows: Europe, 46% of production; Japan, 28%; North America, 15%; other countries, 11%. Total export earnings for fresh kiwifruit wasestimated to be NZ$100 million in 1983. A good orchard can produce 24-25 tonnes/ha, giving a net return of about NZ$20,000/ha . Only a few of the 50 or so kiwifruit cultivars are edible. The mature fruit is 6-8 cm in length and is covered with a brown hairy skin. When cut cross-wise it displays a green pulp interspersed by small dark seeds, with light-coloured lines radiating outward from a light-coloured centre. This delicious succulent fruit is low in calories, very high in Vitamin C and contains various minerals. The fresh fruit is eaten out-of-hand or is used in salads, desserts and other dishes, and in making wines and liqueurs. It is also anexcellent meat tenderizer.

Keywords Chinese gooseberries, kiwifruit, New Zealand
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