Selected Writings (1949)
NEW VARIETIES OF ACTINIDIA
Ivan Michurin

The large-fruit variety of Actinidia arguta has been growing in my nursery for over twenty-five years, but, by comparison with that other Actinidia variety, kolomikta, it has proved to be insufficiently frost-hardy, particularly in its early years, and, in addition, of extremely low fertility.

We have now acquired three types of this valuable Actinidia variety, that are quite frost-hardy and yield abundant crops. They originate from the Kabany Klyuch, a locality in the East Siberian taiga. In this area Actinidia has for many decades withstood frosts of as much as 40 to 45°C. below zero, which in some years set in before the ground was covered with snow.

ACTINIDIA UROZHAINAYA

This variety of Actinidia arguta seedling was found in the taiga, in the upper reaches of the Kabany Klyuch, Nikolsk-Ussuriisk District, at a height of 325 metres. Despite the fact that the plant was a young one, being from ten to twelve years old, it produced a very abundant and regular annual crop. The berries have a lusciously sweet flavour. The plant is distinguished for its fresh, healthy appearance and is not attacked by pests. The most valuable properly of this variety is its early first fruiting.

The berries begin to ripen in the middle of August.

Fig. 189. Actinidia arguta No. 1—Urozhainaya

ACTINIDIA RANNAYA

This Actinidia also originates from seedlings of the Actinidia arguta which was, however, found at another spot—the watershed between the Kabany Klyuch and the Molokanka, at a height of 350 metres. The plant is not a tall one, though it is forty years old. It is perfectly healthy, and no disposition to pest infection has been noted.

The fruit yield is an abundant one, and the berries have a pleasant flavour; they ripen in the middle of August.

Fig. 190. Actinidia arguta No. 2—Rannaya

ACTINIDIA POZDNAYA

This variety comes from the same area as the two previous Actinidias. It was found in the Kabany Klyuch valley at a height of two hundred metres. The plant is nearly thirty years old, but the foliage is fresh and not damaged in any way.

It yields a particularly abundant crop. The berries have a pleasant flavour but ripen at a later period, at the end of September.

Fig. 191. Actinidia arguta No, 3—Pozdnaya

MICHURIN ACTINIDIA ANANASNAYA

This fine variety of Actinidia is the result of selection from the third generation of Actinidia kolomikta Max. The planting took place in 1924 and the germination was observed in 1925.

The first bearing took place in 1931, the seventh year of its growth.

Shape of fruit: varies considerably. On one and the same shrub you can find broad, oval-shaped ones, elongated ones, and irregularly broad and blunt cone-shaped ones, etc. Some of the berries possess deep side seams that stretch from the stalk to the bottom of the calyx. Sometimes these seams cover the entire berry from top to bottom. Sometimes they only cover half of the berry. The surface of the berry is slightly ribbed.

Colouring: dark green, uniform; in the rib hollows it develops into a light green.

Size: length 17 mm., diameter 19 mm., weight 3.1 gr.

Pedicle: 21 min. long, thin, brown coloured; situated in a narrow irregular cavity, the depth of which varies considerably from shallow to deep. It is weakly attached to the berry, but quite strongly to the vine. The sepals protrude as dried, brown-coloured remnants.

Calyx: protruding from the calyx are the dried brown remnants of styles which are situated in an irregular, shallow depression, which in its turn sometimes assumes the shape of a long shallow fissure.

Flesh: as compared with other varieties of Actinidia the flesh of this: new one is more compact, thus considerably increasing its shipping qualities; many other varieties cannot be shipped at all (in view of the exceptionally tender and melting character of the flesh).

The flesh of the Michurin Actinidia Ananasnaya is of light-green colour, juicy, sweet with a light refreshing piquant acidity, and has a wonderfully fine aroma similar to that of the pineapple.

Seeds: very small, so that when consuming the berries one does not notice them at all. Their colour is dark brown.

Ripening time: in 1933, when the spring dragged out and the summer was cold and wet, they were ripe for consumption by August 20.

In the central zone of the U.S.S.R., when the vegetative period is an ordinary, normal one, the ripening time is in the early part of August.

Properties of tree: the liana, in its ninth year, reaches a height of four metres. Two-year-old shoots are smooth, brown coloured, and are often covered with rather dirty-brown spots. One-year-old shoots are brown; coloured with light-brown dots. The leaves are thin, oval-shaped and pointed, while some of them are cordate, doubly and sharply serrated, with very fine and frequent rusty-coloured hairs along the veins of the underpart of the leaf. The surface of the upper part of the leaf is covered with white-coloured hairs set more widely apart. The flowers droop and grow singly.

The Actinidia is a diclinous plant, but the blossoms on the female bushes are bisexual. In the shade the leaves of the male specimens are green, and in the sun become dull white or variegated white rose. This variegation of the leaves, however, occurs not only with the male, but also frequently with the female, specimens.

At the end of May and in the early part of June the lower part of the leaf gradually begins to pale, until it becomes perfectly white. Following the albinism of the leaf a delicate light-pink colouring begins to appear and spread over its lower part, the top part of the leaf remaining green. The combination in the leaf of three colours—green, white and pink—is an exceedingly impressive sight, so that the Actinidia can serve as a splendid decoration for parks and public squares. Its blossoms are white and mostly fragrant.

The vines of the Michurin Actinidia Ananasnaya excellently withstand the winter of the central zone of the U.S.S.R.; for that reason the cultivation of this Actinidia can be advanced far North.

The Actinidia is easily propagated with cuttings, as are currant or grape. The cuttings have to be stored in the autumn after the leaves have fallen. On no account is it recommended to make Actinidia cuttings in the spring, since the powerful spring sap movement causes "tears" to flow from the vines from which cuttings have been taken. This leads to the shrub becoming very much exhausted.

The Actinidia can successfully be propagated with green cuttings in July, the cuttings being planted in cold frames.

The defect of the Michurin Actinidia Ananasnaya berries, as indeed of the entire Actinidia kolomikta species, is that they ripen on the bush at different times, and easily drop.

This new type of Actinidia, the Michurin Ananasnaya, stands out among other small-fruit plants. Its berries can be used not only for dessert and high-grade confectionery; they can also be used for the production of highquality essence of which our food industry now stands in such great need. The variety deserves particular attention and should he extensively propagated in our socialist economy.

ACTINIDIA CLARA ZETKIN

This splendid large-fruited variety of Actinidia is the result of uninterrupted selection from the fourth generation of the Actinidia kolomikta.

The seed germinated in 1926. The first bearing took place in 1932, the seventh year of the seedling's growth.

As distinct from all the other new varieties of the Actinidia, the Clara Zetkin variety possesses the valuable quality of its berries dropping to an inconsiderable degree during the ripening period. This is due to the fact that the pedicle adheres quite strongly both to the berry and to the shoots.

Shape of fruit: from rather elongated to elliptical-sometimes asymmetrical.

Colouring: light green with white-green longitudinal stripes; the colour is uniform over the entire surface.

Size: length 34 mm., diameter 14 mm., weight 3.8 gr.

Pedicle: 17 mm. long, thin, brown coloured with dried dark-brown sepals. There is no cavity, and the pedicles of some berries are placed on small protuberances.

Calyx: small, with an inconsiderable number of half-dried brown styles. Is situated in a very small regular hollow.

Flesh: pale green, juicy, very sweet, and possessing a strong specific aroma. If the berries are overripe the flesh becomes transparent, so that all the seeds inside the berry become very marked, and stand out as small dark dots.

Seeds: small, brown, rather rotund.

Ripening time: on and after August 20.

Properties of tree: at eight years of age, on dry sandy clayey soil, and on an open site, the liana grows to a height of three metres; the Clara Zetkin is absolutely hardy to our severe winter frosts, and its vines are not in the least affected by the frosts in our localities which reach as low as 35 to 40°C. It is distinguished for its total immunity to parasites of both the animal and plant worlds.

The size of its fruits and their fine flavour earn this variety the right to be widely distributed.