A small genus of twining shrubs which produce male and female flowers on the same raceme; the former small, numerous; the latter few, large, and confined to the base. Neither is showy, for petals are absent, and the attractive part is three large sepals. The fruit is large and highly coloured, but not regularly produced in the British Isles. The two hardy species are attractive for their free growth and elegant foliage, and are useful for clothing pergolas, pillars, summer-houses, or for rambling over other shrubs or trees. They need but little training or tying, and the stems will fix themselves by twining round any wire, small branch, etc., with which they may come in contact. Their chief need in cultivation, after the provision of a suitable support, is a good loamy soil. They can be propagated by layers and by cuttings of the stems and roots. Layering is the least troublesome. Cuttings should be made from wood just getting firm, and placed in gentle heat. 'Akebia' is an adaptation of the Japanese name for these shrubs.