Akebia – Akebia Quinata
Vigorous plant originally from the Far Eastern regions of China, Japan included, has at this point spread throughout all temperate zones. We have portamento sarmentoso, with its thin trunk and creeping or weeping branches, and not having aerial roots, in order to climb, requires a support structure. Semi enduring essential oil , it has palm leaves made up of five magenta red waxy lance shaped small leaves, which turn green and are attached to the trunk by a long stalk.
It is well resistant to the cold, but not intense cold (-4/6°C) and with a sunny position reaches maximum strength; in shade or semi shade it will grow well but flower little and not fruit. Akebia should be sheltered from the wind and constant air currents, because if exposed new shoots tend to burn.
Akebia has a notable aerial system, its root system is not very developed: consequently it should be planted in fresh fertile shallow soil, without any stagnant water. For this reason it is adapt to being potted to cover pergolas and walls.
FLORA AND FRUIT
IAmongst the leaves in Spring, countless clusters of delicately perfumed flowers hanging in various shades of purple. They are unisex flowers, , you can find male clusters of flowers different to the female ones and the pollinate via anemophile and entomophile methods (see Kiwi).
In the summer following fruiting, little in proportion to the flowers; in fact to fruit it needs sun and a lot of heat. The fruit is a kind of large pod of purple hue which when mature tends to open at its side, showing inside a light coloured creamy vanilla flavoured flesh.
USE AND HEALTH PROPERTIES
The fruit is good, but not of an enormous quality, they are more appreciated esthetically rather than organoleptically. However taking everything into consideration they have equal properties. The fruit is an important analgesic, anti-inflamatory and increases the secretion of maternal milk. A herbal tea prepared using the trunk has a high content of potassium and is an excellent diuretic.
PRUNING AND CULTIVATION
Akebia is a very vigorous plant and during the season produces a rich flora and it’s long branches should be pruned and trimmed back, whatever its position. It has a modest root system with respect to the plant and it is recommended an attentive watering, especially if potted, so as not to lose their flowering or fruiting.
It is naturally vigorous. Fertilizing is neither appropriate or necessary.
It is prone to an exaggerated flora which can compromise the flowering. It rarely succumbs to fungus attacks, whilst in Spring, aphids can appear on the new flora.