The akebia scrambling round our balcony garden is in full flower but you have to look closely to appreciate its flamboyant blooms.  The larger, female flowers are 3cm across.  The tiny, male flowers, carried in clusters of five or six, each measure just 1cm when fully open.

 

 

The three petalled female flowers open from inflated, spherical buds to reveal six carpals tipped with glistening red stigmas.  Seen against the dark leaves of the neighbouring clematis, the petals are a rather dull, dusky pink.   With the light behind them, they glow a rich wine red.

The male flowers seem unpredictable.  Although all the buds start out a green tinged white, some open to a pinky beige with purple stamens, some a peachy pink with maroon stamens and others a sugar pink with violet stamens.  All the colour combinations seem to be possible on the same plant.   Is one colour a stage on the way to another?  I’ll have to watch more closely to find out.

(Click on any photo to view the gallery)