Some 40 species of deciduous vines with chambered pith. Winter buds are small and hidden in the enlarged base of the petiole. Leaves simple, alternate, usually with long petioles. Flowers white, yellow or reddish, usually 4-5 parted, dioecious or polygamous (unisexual or bisexual flowers borne on the same plant). Fruit, a berry, glabrous or pubescent, round or oblong, many seeded. Several species are grown for their edible fruit, especially A. arguta (Hardy Kiwi) and A. delicosa (Kiwifruit). Native to eastern Asia.
Actinidia: from the Greek aktis, a ray, a reference to the styles which radiate like the spokes of a wheel.