The kiwifruit, often shortened to kiwi in many parts of the world, is the edible berry of a cultivar group of the woody vine Actinidia deliciosa and hybrids between this and other species in the genus Actinidia. The Actinidia is native to North East Asia, particularly South China.
The most common cultivars of kiwifruit are oval, about the size of a large hen’s egg (5–8 cm / 2–3 in long and 4.5–5.5 cm / 1¾–2 in diameter). It has a fibrous, dull brown-green skin and bright green or golden flesh with rows of tiny, black, edible seeds.
The fruit has a soft texture and a unique flavour, and today is a commercial crop in several countries, mainly in Italy, China, and New Zealand.
Also known as the Chinese gooseberry, the fruit was renamed for export marketing reasons in the 1950s; briefly to melonette, and then by New Zealand exporters to kiwifruit.
This latter name comes from the kiwi — a brown flightless bird and New Zealand’s national symbol, and also a colloquial name for the New Zealand people.