Hermaphroditism in Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa): A Review

Shashi K. Sharma *

Department of Fruit Science, College of Horticulture and Forestry, Dr. Y. S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Neri, Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh, 177001, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Actinidia, the kiwifruit is approximately 20 to 26 million years old. It is known widely for its dioecious nature; hermaphroditism has also been found to exist in its male inconstant type. Floral development in this plant species progresses through seven unique stages, following the conventional (A) BCE floral model. Male parts of the flower develop early during the third stage, whereas, the degeneration of these parts (pollens) in female plants occurs during later stages owing to programmed cell death. After exploring the sex-linked segment of the kiwifruit genome, the researchers have determined that the Y-encoded sex-determinant genes Shy Girl (SyGl) and Friendly Boy (FrBy) act independently as the suppressors of feminization and promoters of male factors, respectively. Non-expression of SyGl in males results in the formation of hermaphrodites; yet, masculine behaviour has been reported to develop in this fruit crop with plunking of FrBy gene into the female plants. These findings have created new avenues for generating horticulturally important self-pollinating hermaphrodite vines, eliminating the need to waste orchard space on non-fruiting male varieties.

Keywords: Dioecy, inconstant male, (A) BCE floral model, shy girl, friendly boy

How to Cite

Sharma, S. K. (2024). Hermaphroditism in Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa): A Review. International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, 36(5), 274–280. https://doi.org/10.9734/ijpss/2024/v36i54525


Download data is not yet available.


UNDATA; 2020. Available:http://data.un.org/Data.aspx?d=FAO&f=itemCode%3A592 (accessed on 27 November, 2023).

Shahbandeh M. Global kiwi production 2000-2021. Statista; 2023. Available:https://www.statista.com/statistics/577896/world-kiwi-production/

Mordor Intelligence. Kiwi fruit market size & share analysis - Growth trends & forecasts (2024 - 2029). Mordor Intelligence; 2023. Available:https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/kiwi-fruit-market

Eurofruit. Kiwifruit demand ‘to remain positive’; 2022. Available:https://www.fruitnet.com/eurofruit/kiwifruit-demand-to-remain-positive/187979.article

Bellini E, Rotundo A, Pilone N. Observations on self-fertile clones of kiwifruit. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science. 1991;19:337-339.

Morton J. Kiwifruit: Actinidia deliciosa. In: Fruits of warm climates, 1987. Centre for new crops & plant products at purdue university; 2011. Retrieved 17 January, 2024. Available:http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/kiwifruit_ars.html

Pinto T, Vilela A. Kiwifruit, a botany, chemical and sensory approach – A review. Advances in Plants and Agriculture Research. 2018;6:383-390.

Casimiro-Soriguer I, Buide ML, Narbona E. Diversity of sexual systems within different lineages of the genus Silene. AoB Plants. 2015;7:plv037. DOI: 10.1093/aobpla/plv037

PMID: 25862920

PMCID: PMC4433491

Ferguson AR. New temperate fruits: Actinidia chinensis and Actinidia deliciosa. Perspectives on New Crops and New Uses. 1999;342-347.

Campbell-Culver M. The origin of plants. The people and plants that have shaped Britain's garden history since the year 1000. London: Headline. 2001;69. 22.

Marner S. Plant 304, Actinidia species (Actinidiaceae). Kiwifruits. Oxfrod Plants 400; 2023. Available:https://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/plants400/Profiles/ab/Actinidia (accessed on 27 November, 2023).

Liang C-F, Ferguson AR. Emendation of the Latin name of Actinidia chinensis PI. vat. hispida C. F. Liang. Guihaia. 1984;l: 181-182.

Ferguson AR. Botanical description. In: Testolin, R., Huang, H.-W. and Ferguson, A.R. (eds) The Kiwifruit Genome. Springer, Berlin. 2016;1–13.

Qian YQ. Yu DP. Advances in actinidia research in China. Acta Horticulturae. 1991;297:51-55. ISSN 0567-7572.

Ferguson AR. Kiwifruit (Actinidia). Acta Horticulturae. 1990;290:601-653. ISSN 0567-7572.

Ferguson AR, Huang HW. Genetic resources of kiwifruit: domestication and breeding. Horticultural Reviews. 2007;33: 1–121.

Messina R. Microsporogenesis in male-fertile cv. Matua and male-sterile cv. Hayward of Actinidia deliciosa var. deliciosa (kiwifruit). Advances in Horticultural Sciences. 1993;7:77-81.

McNeilage MA, Considine JA. Chromosome studies in some Actinidia taxa and implications for breeding. New Zealand Journal of Botany. 1989;27:71–81.

McNeilage MA. Gender variation in Actinidia deliciosa, the kiwifruit. Sexual Plant Reproduction. 1991a;4:267–273.

McNeilage MA. Sex expression in fruiting male vines on kiwifruit. Sexual Plant Reproduction. 1991b;4:274–278.

Testolin R, Cipriani G, Costa G. Sex segregation ratio and gender expression in the genus Actinidia. Sexual Plant Reproduction. 1995;8:129–132. Available:https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00242255

Testolin R, Cipriani G, Messina R. Sex control in Actinidia is monofactorial and remains so in polyploids. In: Ainsworth, C.C. (ed.) Sex Determination in Plants. Biosis Scientific Publishers. Oxford. 1999; 173–181.

Harvey CF, Gill GP, Fraser LG, McNeilage MA. Sex determination in Actinidia. 1. Sexlinked markers and progeny sex ratio in diploid A. chinensis. Sexual Plant Reproduction. 1997;10: 149-154.

Charlesworth D. Plant sex determination and sex chromosomes. Heredity. 2002; 88:94-101.

McNeilage MA. Progress in breeding hermaphrodite kiwifruit cultivars and understanding the genetics of sex determination. Acta Horticulturae. 1997; 444:73-78. Available:https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1997.444.8

Testolin R, Messina R, Lain O, Cipriani G. A natural sex mutant in kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa). New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science. 2004;32(2):179-183.

Fraser LG, Tsang GK, Datson PM, De Silva HN, Harvey CF, Gill GP, Crowhurst RN, McNeilage MA. A gene-rich linkage map in the dioecious species Actinidia chinensis (kiwifruit) reveals putative X/Y sex-determining chromosomes. BMC Genomics. 2009;10(1):1-15.

Coen ES, Meyerowitz EM. The war of the whorls: Genetic interactions controlling flower development. Nature. 1991;353 (6339):31-37.

Bowman JL. Evolutionary conservation of angiosperm flower development at the molecular and genetic levels. Journal of Biosciences. 1997;22:515-527.

Causier B, Schwarz-Sommer Z, Davies B. February. Floral organ identity: 20 years of ABCs. In Seminars in cell & developmental biology. 2010;21(1):73-79. Academic Press.

Varkonyi-Gasic E, Moss SM, Voogd C, Wu R, Lough RH, Wang YY, Hellens RP. Identification and characterization of flowering genes in kiwifruit: Sequence conservation and role in kiwifruit flower development. BMC Plant Biology. 2011; 11:1-16.

Caporali E, Testolin R, Pierce S, Spada A. Sex change in kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis Planch.): a developmental framework for the bisexual to unisexual floral transition. Plant Reproduction. 2019;32:323-330.

McNeilage MA, Steinhagen S. Flower and fruit characters in a kiwifruit hermaphrodite. Euphytica. 1998;101(1):69-72.

Käfer J, Marais GAB, Pannell JR. On the rarity of dioecy in flowering plants. Mol. Ecol. 2017;26:1225–41.

Renner SS. The relative and absolute frequencies of angiosperm sexual systems: Dioecy, monoecy, gynodioecy, and an updated online database. Am. J. Bot. 2014;101(10):1588–1596.

Akagi T, Pilkington SM, Varkonyi-Gasic E, Henry IM, Sugano SS, Sonoda M, Firl A, McNeilage MA, Douglas MJ, Wang T, Rebstock R. Two Y-chromosome-encoded genes determine sex in kiwifruit. Nature Plants. 2019;5(8):801-809.

Akagi T, Henry IM, Ohtani H, Morimoto T, Beppu K, Kataoka I, Tao R. A Y-encoded suppressor of feminization arose via lineage-specific duplication of a cytokinin response regulator in kiwifruit. The Plant Cell. 2018;30(4):780-795.

Varkonyi‐Gasic E, Wang T, Cooney J, Jeon S, Voogd C, Douglas MJ, Pilkington SM, Akagi T, Allan AC. Shy girl, a kiwifruit suppressor of feminization, restricts gynoecium development via regulation of cytokinin metabolism and signaling. New Phytologist. 2021;230(4): 1461-1475.

Charlesworth B, Charlesworth D. A model for the evolution of dioecy and gynodioecy. American Naturalist. 1978;112:975–997.

Awasthi RP, Kumar Shashi. Kiwifruit. In: Verma, l. R. And Jindal, K. K. (eds.) fruit crops pollination, Kalyani Publishers, Ludhiana, India. 1997;227-237.

Gianni T, Vania M. Artificial pollination in kiwifruit and olive trees. Pollination in Plants. InTech; 2018. Available:http://dx.doi.org/10.5772/intechopen.74831

Castro H, Siopa C, Casais V, Castro M, Loureiro J, Gaspar H, Castro S. Pollination as a key management tool in crop production: Kiwifruit orchards as a study case. Scientia Horticulturae. 2021;290: 110533. Available:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2021.110533

McNeilage MA. Gender variation in Actinidia deliciosa, the kiwifruit. Sexual Plant Reproduction. 1991;4:267-273.