Akebia quinata

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Akebia quinata
Akebia quinata02.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Lardizabalaceae
Genus: Akebia
Species: A. quinata
Binomial name
Akebia quinata
(Houtt.) Decne.

Rajania quinata Houtt.

Akebia quinata (chocolate vine or five-leaf akebia) is a shrub that is native to Japan, China and Korea, and naturalized in the eastern United States from Georgia to Michigan to Massachusetts.[1][2][3]


It grows to 10 m (30 ft) or more in height and has compound leaves with five leaflets. The flowers are clustered in racemes and are chocolate-scented, with three or four sepals. The fruits are sausage-shaped pods which contain edible pulp.[1][4] The gelatinous placentation is littered with seeds but have a sweet flavor, so they used to be enjoyed by children playing out in the countryside in the olden days in Japan[citation needed]. The rind, with a slight bitter taste, is used as vegetable, e.g., stuffed with ground meat and deep-fried. The vines are traditionally used for basket-weaving.[5]

In China, A. quinata is referred to as 木通 – mù tōng (Pinyin) or mu tung (Wade-Giles) – meaning "woody thoroughgoing (plant)". It is also occasionally known as 通草 – tōng cǎo (Pinyin) or tung tsao (Wade-Giles) – meaning "throroughgoing grass". In the Chinese pharmacopoeia it is believed to be therapeutic as a diuretic, antiphlogistic, galactagogue and analgesic. The principal use of the herb in China is as a traditional remedy for insufficient lactation in nursing mothers. The medicinal part of the plant is the woody stem which is sliced in transverse sections and prepared as a decoction. The stem contains approximately 30% potassium salts thus giving the diuretic action.[6]

A. quinata is listed in the National Pest Plant Accord list which identifies pest plants that are prohibited from sale, commercial propagation and distribution across New Zealand.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Levy-Yamamori, Ran; Ran Levy; Gerard Taaffe (2004). Garden Plants of Japan. Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-650-7. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  2. ^ "Akebia quinata". Flora of China. Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  3. ^ Flora of North America vol 3
  4. ^ Decaisne, Joseph. Archives du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle 1: 195, pl. 13a. 1839.
  5. ^ taken from ja:アケビ (2011.11.3(Thu) 12:08)
  6. ^ Reid, Daniel (2001), "A Handbook of Chinese Healing Herbs", Tuttle Publishing, ISBN 962-593-988-1. Retrieved on 2009-05-20.

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