Monday, January 27, 2014

Kiwifruit Naming Wars

What's round, brown, fuzzy
 and green inside?
Kiwi has many meanings…
Guide: Invasive species. Rats, cats, possums. Came in and wiped out all the flightless birds. That’s why the kiwi is an endangered species now.
Tourist: Plenty of vitamin C in kiwis.
Guide: I’m talking about the bird. The fruit was named after the bird.
Tourist: There’s a kiwi bird?
Guide: It’s brown and fuzzy.
Tourist: And green inside? Sounds like the fruit.
Likely as not, such a tourist didn't know the fruit is called yáng táo (sunny peach) in China. It arrived in New Zealand about 1900. Renamed in the 1940s as Chinese gooseberry or melonette. Renamed again as “kiwifruit” in New Zealand in 1959 due to its similarity with the kiwi bird being round, brown and fuzzy. Later varieties include Golden Kiwi, EnzaRed and Zespri Gold. China claims it as their national fruit with several other names such as: mí hóu táo (獼猴桃, macaque peach), qí yì guǒ (奇異果, wonder fruit), téng lí (藤梨,vine pear), or máo mù guǒ (毛木果,hairy bush fruit). New Zealand branding seems to have edged out Chinese names in the English marketing arena.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was literally never referred to as "hairy bush fruit."

This was a wikipedia vandalism that has now been repeated thousands of times. Take a look at the kiwi confession on this page.