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.
Plants are evergreen in mild winters. Since the chocolate vine growth rate is so fast, it makes an excellent cover for arbors, trellises, pergolas or fences.