Chocolate Vine

Fiveleaf akebia, also known as chocolate vine, is a woody perennial plant that grows either as a twining vine to 15' or a groundcover. It has slender stems that are green when young and brown at maturity. The leaves are dull blue-green in color and alternate along the stem. Each leaf is divided into five stalked leaflets that meet at a central juncture. Leaflets are 1½ to 3 inches long and are notched at the tip. The flowers are reddish to purple-brown, about 1 inch across, and have a sweet fragrance likened to chocolate. Flowering occurs in springtime (March-April). The fruits, if produced at all (benefits from cross-pollination with another variety), are large, soft, edible sausage-shaped pods 2¼ to 4 inches in length, that ripen in late September to early October. The inside of the pod has a whitish pulpy core with many tiny black seeds that is said to taste like Tapioca. Akebia is deciduous in cooler climates but may remain evergreen in warmer regions. The vine may become invasive in areas with fertile soil and sufficient moisture.