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Difference in male and female kiwi plants

Updated April 17, 2017

Kiwi fruit belongs to the genus Actinidia. Earlier known as the Chinese gooseberry, these woody, perennial vines or creeping plants originated in China. Successful kiwi fruit pollination requires one male plant for every eight female plants.

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Dioecious population

Kiwi fruit plants are part of the dioecious population with separate male and female plants. "Dioceious" refers to the Greek word for "two households." Male plants produce pollen, but no seeds. Female plants produce ovules or seeds, but no pollen. Pollination requires both female and male kiwi plants to set the fruit of the female plants.

Male kiwi plants

Male or androecious kiwi plants have a reproductive organ that includes a stalk or filament, an anther and pollen sacs. The pollen can spread by air or bees to the receptive female kiwi plant. Males lack the stigma of the female plants or, in some cases, have undeveloped stigmas.

Female kiwi plants

Female or gynoecious kiwi plants contain a tube-shaped style that consists of the ovary, a pollen tube and a stigma. A stigma is the tip that collects pollen during pollination.

Care of male plants

Because male plants do not produce fruit, they can grow vigorously. After flowering, male plants need pruning. During dormancy, no pruning is required for maximum flowering.

Fruit of female plants

For pollination, males and females can stand a maximum of 10.7 metres (35 feet) apart. Following pollination, the female kiwi fruit tree bears fruit that grows rapidly to full size by mid-summer.

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About the Author

Kathryn Hatashita-Lee
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