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Akebia - (Thunb.)Decne.

Common Name Akebia, Chocolate vine, Fiveleaf Akebia, Chocolate Vine
Family Lardizabalaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Woods, hedges and thickets in mountainous areas[58]. Forest margins along streams, scrub on mountain slopes at elevations of 300 - 1500 metres in China[266].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Korea.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Akebia Akebia, Chocolate vine, Fiveleaf Akebia, Chocolate Vine


(c) ken Fern, Plants For A Future 2010
Akebia Akebia, Chocolate vine, Fiveleaf Akebia, Chocolate Vine

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: Purple, Red. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Variable height, Variable spread.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Akebia is a deciduous Climber growing to 12 m (39ft 4in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from April to May, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant). The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Rajania quinata.

Habitats

Edible Uses

Fruit - raw[2, 105, 177]. Sweet but insipid[3]. The fruit has a delicate flavour and a soft, juicy texture[K]. Lemon juice is sometimes added to the fruit to enhance the flavour[183]. The bitter skin of the fruit is fried and eaten[183]. The fruit is 5 - 10cm long and up to 4m wide[200, 266]. Soft young shoots are used in salads or pickled[183]. The leaves are used as a tea substitute[105, 177, 183].

Medicinal Uses

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The stems are anodyne, antifungal, antiphlogistic, bitter, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, laxative, galactogogue, resolvent, stimulant, stomachic and vulnerary[174, 178, 218, 238]. Taken internally, it controls bacterial and fungal infections and is used in the treatment of urinary tract infections, lack of menstruation, to improve lactation etc[238]. The stems are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[238]. The fruit is antirheumatic, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge, stomachic and tonic[218]. It is a popular remedy for cancer[218]. The root is febrifuge[218]. The plant was ranked 13th in a survey of 250 potential antifertility plants in China[218].

Other Uses

The peeled stems are very pliable and can be used in basket making[174]. Plants have sometimes been used as a ground cover, but their method of growth does not really lend themselves to this use[208].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Arbor. Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil[200]. Prefers a good loamy soil[11]. Succeeds in acid or alkaline soils[200]. Prefers partial shade but succeeds in full sun[3, 200]. Succeeds on north facing walls[219]. Plants are fast growing and can be invasive[200]. Dormant plants are hardy to about -20°c but they can be somewhat tender when young[200]. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. This species grows very well in S.W. England[11]. Plants are evergreen in mild winters[11]. Resentful of root disturbance, either grow the plants in containers prior to planting them out or plant them out whilst very young[219]. Plants are not normally pruned, if they are growing too large they can be cut back by trimming them with shears in early spring[202]. The flowers have a spicy fragrance, reminiscent of vanilla[219]. Plants are shy to fruit, they possibly require some protection in the flowering season, hand pollination is advisable[3, 11]. Plants are probably self-sterile[11, 182], if possible at least 2 plants should be grown, each from a different source. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features: Not North American native, Fragrant flowers, Attractive flowers or blooms.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Surface sow in a light position[133]. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15°c[133]. Stored seed should be given 1 month cold stratification[113, 133] and can be very difficult to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[11, 113]. The cuttings can be slow to root[200]. Cuttings can also be taken of soft wood in spring[113]. Root cuttings, December in a warm greenhouse[113]. Layering in early spring[1]. Very easy, the plants usually self-layer and so all you need to do is dig up the new plants and plant them out directly into their permanent positions.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Akebia quinataAkebia, Chocolate vine, Fiveleaf Akebia, Chocolate Vine42
Akebia trifoliataAkebia, Threeleaf Akebia42
Akebia x pentaphylla 40

 

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Author

(Thunb.)Decne.

Botanical References

1158200

Links / References

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