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Actinidia arguta

Actinidia arguta - Tara vine ( Yang-Tao)

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The leaves of this strong-growing Japanese vine are dark green, thick and shiny. It is usually dioecious, i.e individual plants are either male or female, so to produce fruit both sexes are required. The fruit themselves are about the size of grapes, hairless, and can be called kiwi-berries; peeling is unnecessary, in contrast to the true kiwi (A. deliciosa). The Tara vine is grown particularly in areas which are unfavourable to the true kiwi.

The Tara vine grows successfully in the very south of Finland though the summer is so short that the berries seldom ripen, but when successful it can produce crops of 30-40kg. The commonest variety on sale here is ‘Issai’, which is also less than hardy. Plants from the wild of good provenance, i.e. from cold mountain areas, produce berries ripening in the south of Finland in early October, before hard frosts destroy them.

The foliage is attractive, as are the flowers, and shoots grow over a metre even in Finnish summers, all characteristics making this vine worth growing, whether or not they produce ripe fruit.

 

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