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Chocolate vine facts for kids

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Chocolate vine
Akebia quinata02.jpg
Scientific classification
Genus:
Akebia
Species:
quinata
Synonyms

Rajania quinata Houtt.

Akebia quinata, commonly known as chocolate vine, five-leaf chocolate vine, or five-leaf akebia, is a shrub that is native to Japan, China and Korea, and invasive in the eastern United States from Georgia to Michigan to Massachusetts.

Description

Akebia quinata 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. The gelatinous placentation contains seeds surrounded with white pulp, that has a sweet flavor.

Local names

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 "thoroughgoing grass".

Uses

The fruit contains a sweet soft pulp resembling a white dragonfruit, eaten primarily in Japan as a seasonal delicacy. 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.

The stem contains approximately 30% potassium salts thus causing a diuretic action.[unreliable medical source?]

Cultivation

Akebia prefers sandy soils with good drainage, and regular watering, though it is drought-resistant. In some areas the plant is an invasive species to be avoided.

Etymology

'Akebia' comes from the Japanese vernacular name, 'akebi' (アケビ).

'Quinata' means 'divided into five', and is presumably a reference to its lobed leaves.

Gallery

Fun Facts

The Milkfruit used in the animated show "The Dragon Prince" is based on this vine.

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