April 2013 Plant Profile: Akebia quinata ‘Alba’

April 2nd, 2013 by Soest Gardener, Riz Reyes

Akebia quinata 'Alba' bloom detailWe have an increasing number of vines here at the Center for Urban Horticulture and this particular selection is one that’s been around the longest.

Often dubbed as the “Chocolate Vine”, the typical species flower is generally a deep purple with a gentle, yet deliciously scented blossoms. It is a deciduous and very fast growing vine that will require support. This rare white form (possibly the same as the selection named ‘Shirobana’) is absolutely lovely, but often overlooked.

It can cover the side of walls, spill over banks, climb over just about anything with its pliable and supple vines that can easily be trained and also contained with regular summer pruning of excessive “Whips”.

I’ve yet to see this white-flowered form set fruit, but it should be possible. It produces a large pod with gelatinous fruit with a sweet pulp and many seeds.

 

Akebia quinata 'Alba' The lovely and highly unusual flowers of Akebia with  the large female flower dominating with smaller, but more prolific male flowers that hold the pollen.

Akebia quinata 'Alba' habitHere you can see its habit taking up the corner of NHS Hall at the Center for Urban Horticulture

  

Common Name: White-Flowered Chocolate Vine, White Five-leafed Akebia
Location: CUH-Fragrance Garden, NHS Hall
Origin: China/Japan/Korea
Height and Spread: Can climb 25-30ft.
Bloom Time:  Early Spring

 

Share