Akebia Quinata (Lardizabalaceae)
The name of the genus is of Japanese origin. It comprises only two species found in central China, Korea and Japan. These are climbing, deciduous or partly deciduous shrubs. Akebia quinata has palmate leaves composed of five obovate, entire leaflets about 3 to 6 cm (1 to 2 ¼ in) long, with a slightly wavy margin. The pistillateare chocolate brown, the staminate flowers, which are much smaller, rosy purple. They are pleasantly scented. The fruits are 6 to 8 cm (2 ¼ to 3 in) long, fleshy, purplish violet and covered with bloom. This akebia grows to a height of about 10 m (33 ft). The species Akebia trifoliata, which reaches a height of about 6 metres (20 ft), is not as attractive and so is less commonly grown. Both species flower in May.
Akebia quinata is readily propagated by seeds, which germinate the first year after they are sown. It can also be increased byin the summer or by softwood cuttings taken in June. It requires good, loamy well-aerated . It should not be planted in full sun; a shaded spot or eastern aspect is best. Because the choice of climbing shrubs is fairly limited, akebia is a valuable ornamental woody plant which can be used to cover buildings, walls and fences. It requires no or thinning out.