Chocolate Vine, Five-leaf Akebia
- Main interest:
- chocolate fragrance, attractive dark red to purple flowers, fast growing vine
- full sun to full shade
- Soil humidity:
- dry to moist soil
- Growth type:
- Flower colour:
- Flowering period:
- May to June
- bright green
- USDA Hardiness:
- zone 5a: -29 °C (-20 °F) View Zone Map
- Mature height & width (max.):
- height: 40 ft (12 m) width: 9 ft ( 2.7 m)
- fence, pergola, trellis, soil stablilzation
Five-leaf Akebia, or Chocolate Vine, is a vigorous, fast growing, woody vine. This plant is popular for its flower’s subtle, chocolate fragrance and beautiful, maroon/purple colours. The blooms produce unique, sausage shaped seed pods by the early fall, which contain small black seeds covered in a whitish edible pulp.
The pulp has a slight coconut milk flavor. The fruit skin may evolves from green to violet, grey, or purple-grey when mature. In most cases, the fruit will split open when it is perfectly ripe. Purple Akebi fruits measure an average 4 to 5" (10 to 13 cm) long. Young tender shoots can be eaten in salads and leaves used as tea substitute. Chocolate Vine usually starts blooming and producing fruits after 5 years.
The foliage is a pleasant bright green colour with elliptic leaflets.
Five-leaf Akebia is an extremely fast grower and can quickly take over a trellis or patio wall to cover up an unattractive structure or create a privacy screen. This woody vine is very easy to grow. It can tolerate a range of conditions from full sun to full shade, dry to wet moisture, and most soil types. These traits make this plant great for soil stabilization, or establishing vegetation in a difficult area where other plants may not be able to survive.
Synonym(s): Rajania quinata
Also known as: Five-leaf chocolate vine, Fiveleaf Akebia, Purple Akebi