Botanical name: Allium schoenoprasum Family: Alliaceae (Onion family)
Synonyms: Allium alpinum, Allium montanum
Chives are a bulb-forming herbaceous perennial plant, growing to 30-50 cm tall. The bulbs are slender, conical, 2-3 cm long and 1 cm broad, and grow in dense clusters from the roots. The flowering stems are hollow and tubular, up to 50 cm long and 2-3 mm across. Leaves, which are shorter than the flowering stems, are also hollow and round in cross-section, which distinguishes it from Garlic Chives. The flowers are pale purple, and star-shaped with six petals, 12 cm wide, and produced in a dense head of 10-30 together. The seeds are produced in a small three-valved capsule. Chives are grown for their scapes, which are used for culinary purposes as a flavoring herb. Chives are found in Asia, Europe and North America. Flowering: June-July.
Medicinal uses: The ancient Chinese are the first documented to be using chives, as long ago as 3000 years B.C. The Romans believed chives could relieve the pain from sunburn or a sore throat. They believed that eating chives would increase blood pressure and acted as a diuretic.
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