Also called sausage vine, this woody evergreen climber is native to central China where it grows in scrubby thickets and mountain slopes.  It is a member of the family Lardizabalaceae, that also includes Akebia and can grow over 30′ long.  The plants have twining stems and waxy leathery leaves that are bronzy when new and then turn glossy dark green.   They each have three oblong leaflets that are up to 6″ long and have entire margins. In spring, fragrant white to purple male and female flowers appear in axillary clusters on the same plant and are attractive to pollinators. The fertilized female flowers are followed by pink colored sausage-shaped berries that are 2.5″ long, have white pulp, and are edible but rarely eaten.  Blue China vine grows well in sun as well as shade and in many types of soil so is an excellent choice for a climber in many different garden sites.  The genus name, Holboellia, honors Carl Peter Holboell (1795-1856), Danish ornithologist.  The specific epithet, coriacea, is the Latin word meaning of leather and refers to the leaves.

Bloom: Small white to purple female and male flowers on the same plant in sring

Size: 30+’ long x 12′ width

Light: Full sun to full shade

Soil: Average, medium moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 8-11

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Semi-hardwood cutting inlate summer or autumn, layering, seed

Photo Credit: Wikispecies


By Karen