Kiwi breeding project: seeking volunteers

I have been assisting Kiwibob Glanzman in Seattle with a project to hybridize hardy kiwi and yellow kiwi. The yellow kiwis, Actinidia chinensis, are large fruited with really nice flavors and store well, but are not reliably hardy past zone 7a and tend to ripen too late in the more northern areas. Hardy kiwi, Actinidia arguta, are much hardier and earlier, but have small fruits that tend to drop when ripe and have limited shelf life. They also have a wider range of desirable flavors, often with really high sugar levels. The edible skins are also desirable since there is no need to peel. The smooth skin trait is dominant, so hybrids with yellow or fuzzy kiwi will also have smooth, edible skin.

There are two ploidy races of yellow kiwi, diploids and tetraploids. Hardy kiwi are known that are 2X, 4X, 6X, 8X and even 10X, but all but one variety available in the US are 4X. The one exception is the small, round fruited form of Issai, which is 6X. Crossing to create interspecific hybrids is much more successful when the crosses are made between selections with the same ploidy level, and the resulting hybrids are much more likely to be fertile.

I have two chinensis male seedlings I grew many years ago from seeds from China from a ‘Kuimi’ fruit, a tetraploid, with an unknown pollen parent. These have done well for pollinzing some things, but last year I sent pollen to Kiwibob and a few others, and most attempts failed. The fruit either failed completely, fell off before seeds ripened, or had no viable seed. The one exception was my Kens Red, which had a lot of fruit drop, but also produced viable seeds. I even have one of these hybrids that produced a fruit last year, when pollinized by the same Kuimi males, and have many seedlings from that fruit growing now.

After the failures last year, I had the ploidy estimated by flow cytometry to see if there was something odd going on. There was, my seedling males are both triploids! The fact that they were reasonably fertile was a bit of a surprise, but I’m now realizing that is not unusual for Actinidia.

For this year, I had several varieties tested to try to find 4X males that could be used to repeat the crosses this spring. I also tested some of the Auburn material. The results showed that one male from the Davis repository, Bliss male, appears to be tetraploid. Their other males appear to be diploids. I also confirmed that AU Golden Dragon is a diploid and AU Golden Sunshine is a tet, and that AU Golden Tiger is actually 5X. A fertile pentaploid male could still be useful, but maybe not as desirable as a tet. I also found that the Bliss Yellow female from Davis is also a pentaploid, and is likely a cross between a yellow and fuzzy kiwi. It does have fuzzy skin and stiff hairs on the dormant wood like a fuzzy kiwi, but with yellow fleshed fruit.

The folks at Davis kindly sent me some fresh pollen a few days ago from the Bliss male A. chinensis. I’m now looking for some help in producing some hybrid seed for Kiwibob and anyone else wanting to help evaluate the seedlings. The most desirable situation would be anyone with females about to bloom, but with no males around. That would insure the crosses are true. However, anyone else that is willing to bag some flowers and make controled crosses are also very welcome to help. If anyone has any of the extremely hardy Russian argutas available, that would also be really desirable.

I have the pollen dried and frozen in aliquots. It will be sent in a tube with dessicant and an ice pack, and can be kept in the freezer until ready. Please PM me if interested. I don’t have a huge amount of pollen, so I can’t promise everyone pollen that wants to help, but I’ll do my best.



For anyone wanting to read more about the project, please take a look at Kiwibob’s web page.


Bumping this topic. I’ve got some 1st and 2nd year seedling yellow kiwis coming along here in suburban Philly. Can anyone suggest how many years to first bloom, and pruning techniques to encourage early fruiting?

3-7 depending on a variety of factors and the sex of the plant.

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I have seen males bloom in 1.5 years from seed under optimal conditions. Females typically 1 or 2 years longer than males. The size of vines seems to be related to first blooms, so faster growth results in flowers sooner. I’m not sure if pruning makes much difference, but early to mid summer pruning can result in spur type shoots that are more likely to flower the following spring.

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Holy smokes 1.5 is precocious!

Hi, I’d like to start breeding kiwi actinidia chinensis using various gold cultivars and also adding wild seeds.
Looking for people to share info, seeds, seedlings.

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Im a kiwi collectot wanting to start breeding also


Just saw this Interesting project so I’m bumping it… I’ve got very little experience with kiwi so I can’t help. At least my Ananasnaya is fruiting for the first time.

I have something like 8 crosses going now from this project. I grafted them this spring to bigger vines so they are starting to really take off. Hopefully in a year or two I will get some fruit. A lot more crosses is needed to get a quality fruit, but most of the seedlings died and I don’t have room to grow out all that many anyways. But it will be interesting to see what I get.


I have 30 hybrids in a tight planting in their third year, and they are turning into monsters. 13 of them are Ken’s Red x fuzzy/yellow and others are KensRedxchinensis x fuzzy/yellow. They all look very similar and all survived the Christmas flash freeze without damage. Several adjacent yellow kiwi were killed to the ground, so these seedlings look promising for hardiness.

Three of the F2 seedlings bloomed this spring, and all were male. Flowers were large like chinensis. There wasn’t a lot of pollen from any of them, so I’m not sure they are fertile. I expect that many more will bloom next spring.

Here is one of the male shoots that broke off when I covered the vines during a late freeze. I stuck it in water and it bloomed.


Kiwinut, Scottfsmith,

I would be glad to co-operate with you regarding Yellow kiwi fruit breeding project,

I am an Agronomist in California and we grow about 100 Acre of yellow kiwi and always looking for new varieties to research and invest in.



Hi Dov,

I have someone local interested in growing the seedlings I have right now that I don’t have space for, but maybe Scott has something. I will be starting a bunch of Issai seeds crossed with yellow kiwi males soon, so I will likely have more available at some point. I also have a bunch of large hybrid seedlings that I expect will bloom this spring. I don’t want to take cuttings now, as first blooms are sparse and I don’t want to miss any.

What varieties of yellow kiwi are you growing? Thanks for the interest.

HI Kiwinut,

We grow Hort16A, its a Zespri fruit that got discarded because of its sensitivity to PSA, that is currently wide spread in NZ, Italy and Greece.

We work with many breeders and a select good farmers, we evaluate the commerciality of the fruits and if successful make a contract with the breeder.

I know that some other companies are also doing that, and I worked for them, but this is the best company I worked for yet.


I didn’t realize anyone was still growing Hort16A. I guess as long as PSA is kept out of the US, it should be fine. I used to grow it myself and it was really good, but way too early for my climate. All my grafted yellow kiwi were lost when the flash freeze hit just before Christmas '23. Everything was killed to the ground, except for the hardy kiwi. I also had Hongyang, which was more productive even with the really early bloom and really good. These would crop in Tennessee maybe every other year, although that may be getting worse now. My hardy kiwi are pushing buds already, but we are 5-6 weeks away from our last freeze date. I have to cover and protect the hybrids in order to get blooms.

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We are also in a freeze prone area (usually 31-27F minimum)

Therefore, we utilize many ways to protect the plants (night irrigation, foggers, plastic if possible).

Additionally, we developed agrotechnical methods to increase fruit size yield and quality compared to our competitions.

We are also experimenting with Red-flash proprietary Chinese variety.
However I didn’t try the Hongyang, and I wonder which US Nursery has it in stock.

looking for it online I saw a plant called “Red Goal” and I wasn’t sure if it is the variety called Dori or a different one.

Do you have any clue?

As far as I know, there is no US nursery offering Hongyang. There are a few people in the US that have it. It was patented in 2006, but the patent was apparently abandoned, US20080155721P1 - Kiwi plant named 'Hongyang' - Google Patents.

I’m not familiar with Red Goal. It is patented and is from Italian breeders with unknown parentage, diploid, but that is all I know. Dori is a yellow variety, also from Italy.

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