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kiwifruit orchard

Wide view of a row of kiwifruit plants in an orchard. In the foreground is a thick wooden post, with additional posts spaced out along the length of the row stretching in to the distance. Between each post is two or three kiwifruit plants, extending up from the ground and connected to cords stretched between the wooden posts to aid the plants' stability when fruit grows.

Why don’t bees succeed in pollinating commercially grown kiwifruit? Native kiwifruit is much smaller than its commercial cultivar. For native plants, insect pollination is more than sufficient for reproduction and successful (albeit small) fruit production. That advantage disappears for commercial cultivars. Another problem is that bees get distracted. The kiwifruit bloom season is relatively short, about one to two weeks, and occurs in the spring in Alabama, when a lot of other flowers are also in bloom, and kiwifruit flowers don’t provide a significant nectar source to attract bees. (Photo courtesy of Auburn University)

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