Monday, February 28, 2011

Smart Stuff with Twig Walkingstick: Kiwis Can't Fly; Neither Can Kiwis

Twig Walkingstick lives in and around the Wooster campus of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. His alter ego is Kurt Knebusch, one of our super-talented writers and editors on campus. Each month, look for Twig to answer a reader questions and some additional interesting facts below. After Twig's post, we will be providing some ideas and suggestions on how to incorporate the info in Twig's column into fun science learning for your students and children.

Q. Dear Twig: Where do kiwis come from? The fruit, not the bird.

A. The grocery store, right? Right? Kidding. First they have to grow somewhere. And where they grow is on woody vines that farmers grow in orchards. The farmers grow them on sturdy poles or trellises. Reason: Kiwi vines grow like crazy.

Most of the kiwis sold in stores come from Italy, Chile, New Zealand, California and a half dozen or so other places.

People call kiwi fruit "kiwifruit," too. Reason: to not mix it up with the kiwi bird. The kiwi bird lives in New Zealand. Neither kiwi can fly. They have that in common. They're both also brownish and fuzzy. But inside they're different. The kiwi bird isn't bright green. Nor sweet nor juicy nor good for breakfast nor rich in vitamin C.

Next: If you give a Twig a kiwi – the fruit, not the bird – he'll tell you how to grow your own kiwis – the fruit, not the bird.

Kiwi me,


P.S. "Kiwi" can also mean a person from New Zealand. Note: Also not bright green inside.

  • Notes from Twig:
  • Kiwifruit's other names include Chinese gooseberry (though it's not a real gooseberry), melonette and yang tao (in China) plus the fun to say but rarely used goat peach, sheep peach, monkey peach and hairy pear.
  • Sources included two fact sheets, both called "Kiwifruit," one from where I call my home, Ohio State University, and one from our neighbor to the west, Purdue University.
  • Cool: The kiwi bird is the national symbol of New Zealand.
  • Not cool: All five kiwi bird species are endangered. Why? Imported predators, habitat loss, even cars.
  • Cool site:
Using this information for education:

Interested in learning more about the kiwi bird?

Here are some cool cross-curriculum lesson plans about the kiwi bird that cover social studies, phyisical geography, reading graphs, science, art, web-quests, history, volcanoes, culture, language arts, music, physical education, gender roles, economics, math, money and banking and much more.

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