Family: Lardizabalaceae

Native to China and Japan, these two species of hardy, twining climbers are grown for their pretty perfumed flowers and distinctive leaves. Useful for pillars and pergolas, they grow quickly to around 9 m (30 ft).


A. quinata, from China and Japan, is the best known of the species. It has attractive clusters of semi-evergreen leaves, divided into five-stalked leaflets, and purplish flowers in spring. The flowers have an unusual chocolate scent. Interestingly, both male and female appear on the one stem and the female flower is two or three times larger than the male. In mild Climates, this plant sometimes produces cylindrical-shaped, edible fruit.

A. trifoliata is a deciduous climber. The three-lobed leaves open bronze before becoming green. Sprays of purple flowers appear in spring.


Plant in well-drained soil in a sunny position and cut back every three or four years. Propagate from seed or from cuttings taken in summer.


Akebias are suitable for zone S and above.

Aiphanes      Alberta