Allium acutum Spreng.
Allium alpinum (DC.) Hegetschw.
Allium broteri Kunth
Allium buhseanum Regel
Allium carneum Schult. & Schult.f.
Allium coloratum Dulac
Allium foliosum Clairv. ex DC.
Allium glaucum Ledeb.
Allium gredense Rivas Goday
Allium idzuense H.Hara
Allium lusitanicum Link ex Regel
Allium montanum Schrank
Allium palustre Chaix
Allium palustre Pourr. ex Lag.
Allium palustre Salisb.
Allium punctulatum Schltdl.
Allium purpurascens Losa
Allium raddeanum Regel
Allium reflexum F.Dietr.
Allium riparium Opiz
Allium roseum Krock.
Allium schmitzii duriminium Cout.
Allium scorodoprasum alvarense Hyl.
Allium sibiricum L.
Allium tenuifolium Pohl
Allium tenuifolium Salisb.
Allium ubinicum Kotukhov
Allium udinicum Antsupova
Ascalonicum schoenoprasum (L.) P.Renault
Cepa schoenoprasa (L.) Moench
Cepa tenuifolia (Salisb.) Gray
Porrum schoenoprasum (L.) Schur
Porrum sibiricum (L.) Schur
Schoenissa rosea Salisb.
Schoenissa schoenoprasa (L.) Salisb.
Schoenoprasum vulgare Fourr.
Common Name: Chives
Flowering plant in Piera, Catalunya, Spain
Photograph by: Acracia
Allium schoenoprasum is a herbaceous, bulbous, perennial plant, each bulb producing one or two leaves 8 - 35cm long and a flowering scape 10 - 40cm tall. The plant divides freely, forming in time a dense cluster of leaves[
Chives are a widely used herb, mainly employed as a flavouring and garnish on foods. They are commonly cultivated in the garden and sometimes grown commercially for their leaves.
Allium schoenoprasum is a widespread species that is suspected to be stable through much of its range and is also present with reproducing populations in protected areas in Europe, Russia, North America and China. It is also conserved ex situ. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
The plant often escapes from cultivation and has become established in some areas, such as N. Amerrica[
Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in very large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[
Widespread in the temperate zones of Europe, Asia, N. America.
Rocky pastures and damp meadows, preferring calcareous soils[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Pollinators||Bees, Flies, Lepidoptera, Self
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Allium schoenoprasum is widespread through much of the temperate zone, where it is found at elevations up to 2,000 metres - it can also be cultivated in the subtropics and at medium elevations in the tropics. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 10 - 20°c, but can tolerate 2 - 35°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 450 - 1,600mm, but tolerates 300 - 2,800mm[
An easily grown plant[
], it prefers a sunny position in a rich moist but well-drained soil[
], though it succeeds in most soils[
] and also in light shade[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 - 6.6, tolerating 5 - 8.2[
The bulbs divide rapidly and large clumps are quickly formed. There are some named varieties[
High temperatures encourage bulb and leaf formation, but flower formation and seed production are only possible where the bulbs are subjected to low temperatures. In the tropics, flower and seed formation will therefore only occur at higher elevations[
Chives are very tolerant of heavy harvesting, regular cutting of the leaves ensures a continuous supply of young leaves and prevents the plants flowering[
]. Plants can be moved into a frame or other protected environment in the autumn and will then produce leaves throughout the winter[
]. Do not do this every year or it weakens the plants.
The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[
A good bee plant[
Leaves - raw, cooked or dried for later use. The leaves have a mild onion flavour and are an excellent addition to mixed salads, they can also be used as a flavouring in soups etc[
]. The leaves are often available from late winter and can continue to produce leaves until early the following winter, especially if they are in a warm, sheltered position[
]. A good source of sulphur and iron[
]. A nutritional analysis is available[
The bulbs are rather small, and rarely exceed 10mm in diameter[
]. They can be harvested with the leaves still attached and be used as spring onions[
]. They have a pleasant mild onion flavour.
The flowers can be used as a garnish in salads etc[
]. The flowers of this species are rather dry and less desirable than the flowers of many other species[
The whole plant has a beneficial effect on the digestive system and the blood circulation. It improves the appetite, is digestive, hypotensive and tonic[
]. It has similar properties to garlic (A. sativum), but in a much milder form, and it is rarely used medicinally[
Chives generally grow well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, celery, celariac, beet and chamomile, but they inhibit the growth of legumes[
]. They help to reduce the incidence of scab when grown under apple trees[
]. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
The juice of the plant is used as an insect repellent, it also has fungicidal properties and is effective against scab, mildew etc[
]. The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy, pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle easily and plant out in the following spring.
Division can be carried out at almost any time of the year but is probably best done in spring. The clumps should be divided at least every 3 or 4 years in order to maintain vigour[
], the divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.