Actinidia kolomikta (Maxim.) Maxim.

First published in Mém. Acad. Imp. Sci. St.-Pétersbourg Divers Savans 9: 63 (1859)
This species is accepted
The native range of this species is Russian Far East to Central China, N. & Central Japan. It is a liana and grows primarily in the temperate biome.


Kew Species Profiles

General Description
A climber with unusual, variegated leaves, splashed with pink and white, kolomikta vine has small flowers with a fragrance similar to that of lily-of-the-valley.

Actinidia kolomikta was described as a new species in 1856 by the Russian botanist Carl Johann Maximowicz (1827-1891) from specimens he collected in the northern Amur River valley in Manchuria. The specific epithet derives from the local name for the plant - 'kolomikta' or 'kotomikta'. It was introduced to Great Britain by Charles Maries (1851-1902), an English plantsman who travelled through China and Japan, and sent seeds of A. kolomikta to the Veitch nursery in Chelsea in 1877. However, the climber was already known and grown in France and the United States by then.

Actinidia kolomikta is related to the Chinese gooseberry, A. deliciosa, the fruits of which are grown commercially in New Zealand and marketed as kiwi fruits. In Russia in particular, the smaller, edible fruits of A. kolomikta are also popular, but both male and female plants are needed for pollination and the production of fruit.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Native to China (in Chongqing, Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Hubei, Jiangsu, Jilin, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces), Japan (in the mountains of Hokkaido and Honshu), Korea, and Russia (in east Siberia and Sakhalin Island). It has been found at 1,600-2,900 m above sea level.


A deciduous, climbing shrub, with slender, twining branches and heart-shaped green leaves up to around 15 cm long, splashed with pink and white. The small (to about 1 cm long), fragrant, pink or white, pendulous flowers appear from May to July, and are followed in the autumn by greenish-orange fruits up to 2 cm long.

The distinctive leaf-colouring is restricted to the male plants, and is not usually apparent until the plant is several years old, frequently not developing at all if the plant is growing in too much shade.


Actinidia kolomikta is widely cultivated as an ornamental in temperate regions. The edible fruits are popular in Russia, where numerous cultivars have been developed for earliness, size, flavour and vitamin C content of the fruits, and plants have been selected for being reliably male or female. In east Asia, the young leaves are used as a pot-herb. Recent laboratory research in China has indicated anti-oxidant and anti-tumour activity in root extracts.

Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life worldwide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

Number of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank: One

Seed storage behaviour: Orthodox? (the seeds of this plant survive drying without significant reduction in their viability, and are therefore amenable to long-term frozen storage such as at the MSB)


Actinidia kolomikta is exceptionally hardy, and can survive temperatures as low as -40°C in Siberia. Domestic cats are attracted to this climber as much as, or more than, catmint ( Nepeta species), and can damage the vine.

This species at Kew

Actinidia kolomikta can be seen growing on the east side of the Rock Garden at Kew, and in the north-east corner of Westwood Valley at Wakehurst.

Pressed and dried specimens of Actinidia kolomikta are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers by appointment. The details, including images, of specimens of other Actinidia species can be seen online in the Herbarium Catalogue.

China, Japan
Clearings in mixed forest on mountainsides.
Not known to be threatened.

None known.


Extinction risk predictions for the world's flowering plants to support their conservation (2024). Bachman, S.P., Brown, M.J.M., Leão, T.C.C., Lughadha, E.N., Walker, B.E.

Predicted extinction risk: not threatened. Confidence: confident


Ornamental, edible fruit.

Common Names

Kolomikta vine


  • Angiosperm Extinction Risk Predictions v1

    • Angiosperm Threat Predictions
  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2023 World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    • The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants 2024. Published on the Internet at and
    • © Copyright 2023 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Vascular Plants.
  • Kew Species Profiles

    • Kew Species Profiles