Akebia (Akebia trifoliata)

Clematis trifoliata. A. lobata.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Akebia trifoliata

The peeled stems are very pliable. They can be bleached and used in basket making[46, 61].

  • Medicinal Use

    The stems are analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antitumor. blood tonic, cardiotonic, diuretic, emmenagogue and galactogogue[147, 176]. Taken internally, it controls gram-positive bacterial and fungal infections and is used in the treatment of urinary tract infections, lack of menstruation, to improve lactation etc[176, 238]. The stems are harvested in the autumn and dried for later use[238].

  • Edible Use

    Fruit – raw. Sweet but insipid[2, 3, 46, 61, 105]. The fruit has a delicate flavour and a soft juicy texture[K]. The flavour can be enhanced by the addition of a little lemon juice. Valued more as a novelty, the fruit looks somewhat like a deep-purple coloured sausage[183]. The fruit is 7 – 13cm long[200].

    The dried young leaves are used as a tea substitute[46, 61, 105, 183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Surface sow in a light position[133]. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 3 months at 15¡c[133]. Stored seed should be given 1 month cold stratification[113, 133] and can be very difficult to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame[11, 113]. The cuttings can be slow to root[200]. Cuttings can also be taken of soft wood in spring[113]. Root cuttings, December in a warm greenhouse[113]. Layering in early spring[1]. Very easy, the plants usually self-layer and so all you need to do is dig up the new plants and plant them out directly into their permanent positions.
Requires a well-drained moisture-retentive loamy soil[11, 200]. Succeeds in acid or alkaline soils[200]. Prefers partial shade but succeeds in full sun[3, 200]. Grows well on a north facing wall[219]. Dormant plants are hardy to about -20¡c but they can be somewhat tender when young[200]. Another report says that this species is not as hardy as A. quinata, only tolerating temperatures down to -10¡c. The young growth in spring, even on mature plants, is frost-tender and so it is best to grow the plants in a position sheltered from the early morning sun[K]. This species grows very well in S.W. England. Resentful of root disturbance, either grow plants in containers prior to planting them out or plant them out whilst very young[219]. Plants are evergreen in mild winters[11]. Fast growing, it can be invasive. It grows well on deciduous trees[28]. Plants are not normally pruned, if they are growing too large they can be cut back by trimming them with shears in early spring[202]. Plants are shy to fruit, they possibly require some protection in the flowering season, hand pollination is advisable[3, 11]. Plants are probably self-sterile[182], if possible at least 2 plants should be grown, each from a different source. The flowers are sweetly scented[245]. The fruits are sold in local markets in Japan[46]. The ssp. A. trifoliata australis. (Diels.)Rehd. is used medicinally in China[176]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200].
E. Asia – China, Japan, Korea.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.