The kiwi, or Actinidia Chinensis, is a climbing vine that can reach 10 metres in height; in nature it clings to trees or cliffs, with a stem whose tip develops in a similar way to bean plants. The heart-shaped leaves are deciduous; the young shoots, leaf and flower stems are brown and hairy, like the fruit itself, and the flowers are creamy white and pendant.
The berries (the edible fruit) are brown and covered in down; inside is firm green or yellow sour-sweet flesh with a distinctive ring of dark seeds around a fibrous whitish central core.
Although the kiwi originated in China, it has adapted well to the Mediterranean climate, and Italy is currently one of the world’s largest producers of kiwis.
The name kiwi is due to the widespread cultivation and selection practised in New Zealand, where this fruit is extremely popular. The name kiwifruit was used to characterise the fruit (with no historical or scientific evidence, so completely arbitrarily) as native to New Zealand, like the bird that shares its name.