Allium schoenoprasum L.
|Kingdom||Plantae||Plants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae|
|Subkingdom||Tracheobionta||Vascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients|
|Division||Magnoliophyta||Flowering plants, also known as angiosperms|
|Class||Liliopsida||Monocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family|
|Subclass||Liliidae||Includes lilies, orchids, and many others|
|Order||Asparagales||A diverse group that includes asparagus|
|Family||Amaryllidaceae||Amaryllis family—plants that grow from bulbs. Includes onions and many others|
|Genus||Allium||Onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, scallions, etc.|
|Species||schoenoprasum||Schoenos from schoinos, a rush, reed; prason for “leek”|
About plant names...
Chives are native to temperate regions around the world. Their cultivation dates back
5,000 years, though wild chives are also edible, and may even pop up in your lawn.
Identification: Plants are 8-20″ (20-50 cm) tall, composed of
clusters of erect, round, hollow leaves, 1/32-¼″ (1-7 mm) thick. Sometimes the tubular leaves are
unevenly curled. The clear odor of onions in a crushed leaf is a sure indicator.
Flowers are globe- or dome-shaped, composed of many small tubes, pale to deep purple-pink
in color. Each flowerhead has up to 30 tiny flowers. Fruits are three-lobed capsules.
Edibility: Chives are a popular culinary herb used for centuries,
valued for the mild onion flavor of its leaves. Flowers and roots are also edible. There are other plants
with tubular, hollow leaves, but any plant that smells like onion or garlic is edible.
The tender shoots taste
best. Older woody stalks won't do you any harm, but they don't taste as good.
(Consumption of large quantities of chives by some animals,
especially dogs, may result in poisoning. But I have never seen a dog pay any attention at all to chives.)
Allium schoenoprasum (a) and Allium cepa (b).
Montana Plant Life
Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants
4/11/2011 · Susan and Raimond’s, Phoenix, Maryland
Allium schoenoprasum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 14 Sep 2023.
© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.
3/2/2011 · North Central Railroad Trail, Gunpowder Falls State Park, Baltimore, Maryland · ≈ 11 × 7″ (27 × 18 cm)
5/5/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, Massachusetts · ≈ 9 × 14″ (23 × 35 cm)
4/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, Massachusetts · ≈ 14 × 9″ (35 × 23 cm)
5/6/2016 · Long Cove Cottages, Tenant’s Harbor, Maine
5/27/2010 · Tom and Susan’s, Pepperell, Massachusetts · ≈ 5 × 3½″ (13 × 9.2 cm)
Range: Zones 4-8:
About this map...