Allium schoenoprasum is also known as Allium oliganthum, Allium montanum, Allium schmitzii var. duriminium, Allium alpinum, Allium gredense, Allium buhseanum, Allium purpurascens, Allium raddeanum, Chives, Cive, Sieves, Seithes, Onion Grass, or Schnittlaugh. It is part of the Amaryllidaceae family of plants. It is related to onions, garlic, leek, and shallot.
Allium schoenoprasum is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. Chives are commonly found in your grocery stores. Chives have been cultivated since the Middle Ages. There are indications that they were used in food even up to 5000 years ago. Romans used it for medical purposes to relieve pain or sunburn. Allium schoenoprasum is a diuretic.
Carl Linnaeus published Allium schoenoprasum in 1753 in his book “Species Plantarum“. The name schoenoprasum is from Greek skhoinos meaning rush. And prason means leek in Greek. The common name Chives is from french cive which is also from Latin cepa.
Allium schoenoprasum is a bulbous perennial. The bulbs are slender. They are about 3cm or 1in long. Allium schoenoprasum has cylindrical leaves. The leaves are aromatic with a scent of onions.
Allium schoenoprasum has umbels of pale purple flowers. Individual flowers are bell-shaped. Flowers are surrounded by paper bracts. The flowers produce a lot of nectar. After flowering, it produces seeds in three-valved capsules.
Allium schoenoprasum is easy to grow. Grow it in the sun or partial shade. Plant it in fertile but well-drained soil. Propagate by seed or division. Cut back after flowering. Allium schoenoprasum is generally pest-free. Watch out for white rot, and downy mildew.
Allium schoenoprasum leaves and flowers are both edible. Chives also repel insects and are used in gardening to control pests. Allium schoenoprasum flowers attract bees.