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 Weather Station

Products > Akebia quinata
Akebia quinata - Chocolate Vine

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Vine
Family: Lardizabalaceae (Lardizabalas)
Origin: Asia, Central (Asia)
Flower Color: Purple
Bloomtime: Winter
Synonyms: [Rajania quinata]
Height: Climbing (Vine)
Width: Spreading
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: < 0 F
Akebia quinata (Chocolate Vine) - A fast growing, woody ,semi-deciduous (in mild winter regions), twining vine that can climb to 30 feet, but is usually less. It has palmately compound leaves composed of five rounded 2 to 3 inch long leaflets that emerge purple tinged then age to a blue green to light green in full sun. In late winter to mid spring appear the clusters of rounded whitish buds that open to expose interesting fragrant purplish-brown flowers with 3 petals. Male and female flowers are separate on the inflorescence with staminate flowers near the terminal end and with female flowers below. Pollinated flowers develop into a sausage-shaped fruit that is rarely if ever seen in our area. This fruit slits along one side longitudinally to expose the edible sweetish pulp surrounding the seeds. Plant in full sun or part shade, but should have a semi-rich, well-draining soil with regular to occasional irrigation - best with soils that have even moisture. Root hardy to around -20 F and useful as a deciduous vine in USDA zones 5 to 6 and semi-deciduous to evergreen in warmer zones. This plant is native to China, Korea, and Japan and while its growth is constrained by our drier climate, it has been invasive in wetter areas. The genus name comes from a latinization of the Japanese colloquial name for the plant as "Akebi". The specific epithet is from the Latin word 'quin' meaning "having 5" in reference to the number of leaflets. The name chocolate vine is sometimes cited as a reference to the color or smell of the flowers though they are more purple than brown and the fragrance seems a unique sweet smell rather than that of chocolate. This plant is in an interesting family called the Lardizabalaceae, which is most closely related to the Berberidaceae and Ranunculaceae. The family was named to honor Michael Lardizabala y Uribe, a Spanish patron of botany.  The information on this webpage is based on research conducted about this plant in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of it as it grows in the nursery in containers, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it growing. We will also incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback from those who may have additional information, particularly if this information includes cultural information that would aid others in growing  Akebia quinata.