Hardy Kiwifruit

While their tastes are similar, hardy kiwifruits are different from the kiwi-fruits you find in the produce aisle at the supermarket. The hardy kiwifruit (Actinidia arguta) is native to northeastern Asia, while its commercially available cousin (A. chinensis) is native to southern China. In the eastern United States, the commercial kiwifruit grows only as far north as Maryland and then only in protected spots.

Hardy kiwifruit plants tolerate temperatures as low as -25 degrees F or so, but they are sensitive to late spring frosts. The fruits, which are about the size of a large grape, are not covered with fuzz, have small seeds, and can be eaten out of hand without peeling. They have an excellent flavor, can be dried or made into wine, and are higher in vitamin C than most citrus fruits. Some people find they have a strong laxative effect.

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