Finally- Akebia fruit!

hemnancy(z8 PNW)September 13, 2004

I have 2 Akebias, quinata and trifoliata, that have been growing on an arbor for about 5 years. Though they have flowered several years, this is the first year I have got any fruit, and only on quinata. Perhaps I should have been hand-pollinating all along. I will try that next year.

Akebia are a lovely vine and evergreen where I am in zone 8. Only the pulp is edible, a sweet gelatinous confection full of seeds. The pods split open by themselves and are a pale blue-lavender, and look like something from outer space.

Paghat has an interesting webpage on them.

http://www.paghat.com/akebiafruit.html

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reginak(z7 Maryland)

Does it taste good? Or is it too soon to know?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 8:10PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

It tastes good, similar to something I've eaten but I can't quite think what. A little like a litchee gelatin they sell at Asian markets, without the litchee flavor. I'm not sure it's worth growing just for fruit but is a very handsome vine and evergreen in zone 8, I don't know about colder. I think it's a great choice to cover an arbor and the fruit is a plus. The other vine on my arbor is Dioscorea villosa, wild yam, and to get something useful out of it you have to dig up the tuber. It also dies to the ground every year so I have to pull dead vines out from among the living Akebia vines. I should dig up the Dioscorea and move it.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2004 at 1:30PM
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oldherb(z8 Oregon)

Hey! Congrats on your fruit! Around here there are only a couple of folks I know that get fruit regular and only one gets it in any quantity.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2004 at 1:28AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Thanks, Oldherb! Only A. quinata had fruit, so I'm still wondering what the other one is like. I will have to try hand-pollinating next year and see if I can get fruit on trifoliata as well.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2004 at 6:05PM
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starfyre(z8 wa)

I've been looking for Akebia quinata and found a place in northern washington that sells them but I have to drive there to pick them up because they are "unavailable to ship" (?????) Anyway the catalog says there are two colors of the akebia quinata - light pinkish/white, and purple/burgundy - and I'm wondering if maybe a better fruit yield would come from having both - ala cross pollination like other fruits need??? I was planning on getting one of each color to plant together on an arbor that leads to my chocolate garden (which actually has chocolate, vanilla scented things, fruit scented salvias, a mock orange and carolina spice bush...) I was wary of actually eating the pulpy jelly mess of the fruit but I'm with you - the pics I've seen of the fruit are something else - I thought they look something like an alien egg sac - LOL!!!!

Now my question is - what, pray tell, even though smell is a personal and subjective thing, do the flowers ACTUALLY smell like???

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 10:15PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

Sorry to take so long to reply, I had company for a while. I don't actually remember much scent from the flowers. I like the fruits as I like gelatinous textures. For scent I think Dioscorea villosa or batata are better, though I don't think they have bloomed yet this year. They actually waft. You will need two varieties to get fruit, as they need cross pollination. D. villosa, Wild yam, is medicinal, and D. batata, Chinese Yam, has an edible tuber.

I just bought another plant with chocolate/vanilla fragrance, Azara microphylla Variegata. I found after buying it that it is marginally hardy here, but hope it will do OK anyway. It has fragrant flowers but also is supposed to have edible berries. I haven't heard from anyone who has eaten them, though.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 2:52PM
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akebia(8a Western WA)

Hi, all:

Flowers smell mildly sweet! I really love my Akebias--at least the quinatas. (And what was your first clue that I love my Akebias?)

The trifoliata looks lousy much of the year then perks up for summer, but the quinata looks good most of the year.

Still no fruit after five years, but I think I'll go hand-pollinate, now, too.

I tasted the fruit in Walt Bubelis' broadleaf evergreen class at EDCC. I spat out the seeds. The "jelly" is sweetish, kind of loosely gelatinous.

Interesting to try, but I don't think I'll be spreading it on my PB sandwiches. What's really cool, IMHO, is the pods. They can be pink or lavender.

As for finding Akebias, I don't think they're rare at all these days. Try Molbak's or Sky. Or come over my house and take a bunch of clippings and try to root them.

I'll probably try to layer a bunch of them this year. So you could also check with me in a few months.

Hmmm. I've got to check out these Dioscoreas now. I didn't know that Azara is borderline hardy. I've seen several that look just fine after years in the ground.

The variegated Azara is less hardy, though, from what I've read. Check out Trees of Seattle (Arthur Lee Jacobson) to see.

Best,
Cindy

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 8:34AM
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tim_timwhiteheadfilms_com

Planted an akebia in my small, walled-in west London garden. I thrives, flowering each year. This last winter was the harshest for 30 years. And the last Spring/ early summer v.hot.
It has, finally, fruited. Now..to try.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 7:45AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

That's great, Tim! I wish I could say mine fruits regularly but it seems the first crop was the biggest and some years there are none. I hope I get some this year. I tried the Blue Bean tree, related, Decaisnea fargesii, but it seemed to dwindle every year instead of getting bigger and finally gave up. It may have needed more heat.

Enjoy!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 4:34PM
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samsaraedu(7)

I'm glad to see someone got fruit from these.
I was excited when I bought them hearing they smell like chocolate and fruit tastes like tapioca but you need to buy 2 plants to get fruit. So the guy sold me 2 of the same plant (probably rooted cuttings from the same mother plant)
Have had beautiful flowers for years and saw bees all over them this year, but now I know I have to buy the other variety and wait for it to mature.
I appreciate the information. You've really helped me a lot.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2014 at 10:51AM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

The sad story is that the two vines don't grow at the same rate or bloom at exactly the same time, or maybe since they are not native they are lacking the proper pollinator. Anyways, I had a lot of fruit one year then less after that and finally no fruit at all. The fruit is more of a curiosity than anything else, I have quirky tastes in fruit but no one else was interested. Best of luck.

Nancy

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 6:30PM
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