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Overview

Brief Summary

Allium schoenoprasum, known as chives, is a perennial monocot in the onion genus. It is the smallest species of the edible onions, and is the most widely distributed—it is only Allium species that is native to both the New and the Old World, found in Europe, Asia, and North America and growing in arctic regions up to 70° N latitude or in mountainous regions at lower latitudes (Brewster 1994). The name of the species derives from the Greek skhoínos (rush or reed) and práson—leek (Jaeger 1944). Its English name, chives, derives from the Latin word for onion (cepa).

Chives do not produce large bulbs, but instead send out new axillary shoots after 2 or 3 leaves have formed, with shoots attached to short rhizomes (Brewster 1994, Hilty 2011). The plant forms dense clumps with narrow, linear, hollow leaves, typically 15–30 cm tall. The flowers are packed in dense umbels and do not produce bulbils (small bulbs), in contrast to many other Allium species, which have more space between flowers and often produce bulbils.

Chive leaves and flowers are both edible. The leaves are widely used as a culinary herb in the cuisines of Europe; the flowers are used in salads. The flavor is similar to but milder than other onions. Chives can be used fresh or dried.

Chives produce sulfur compounds (including methyl sulfides and disulfides) similar to those found in garlic, but in much smaller amounts. They are considered to have similar medicinal properties (antifungal, antimicrobial, improving circulation, etc.), but they have limited use for medicinal purposes. The sulfur compounds appear to be produced in large enough quantities, however, to help ward off insect pests in gardens, so chives are used in companion planting.

Chives have been in cultivation in Europe at least since the 16th century; records of related Alliums, including onions, garlics, and leeks, are found in Egyptian and Mesopotamian records dating to 5000 B.C. The Romans believed chives could relieve the pain from sunburn or a sore throat, and that eating chives would increase blood pressure and acted as a diuretic (Wikipedia 2011).

Chives are primarily grown in home gardens and small farms. The total area commercially harvested globally in 1990 was 1000 hectares, with Denmark, New Zealand, and Germany leading production (Brewster 1994).

In North America, the native species is variously classified as A. sibiricum, A. schoenoprasum var. sibiricum, or A. schoenoprasum var. laurentianum, but cultivated varieties have escaped and naturalized and are interfertile with native ecotypes, so that distinguishing native from introduced types and mapping the native range and assessing its invasiveness is difficult (FNA 2011, Michigan Flora Online 2011). It appears that chives primarily invade disturbed areas adjacent to cultivation; the species is not as invasive as A. vineale, crow garlic, or A. canadense, wild garlic (Hilty 2011).

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Comprehensive Description

Comments

The chopped foliage of Chives has a mild onion flavor that can used to season various dishes and sauces, including salads and sour cream. The flowerheads are also edible if they are picked while they are still young; they can be added to salads, and have the same flavor as the foliage. Chives is easy to distinguish from other Allium spp. cause of its dense umbels; its flowers are crowded tightly together. The umbels of other Allium spp. are more loose and there are conspicuous gaps between the flowers. The basal leaves of Chives are hollow and quite narrow, whereas the basal leaves of other Allium spp. are often solid and flattened; if they are hollow, then they are somewhat broader in circumference and taller. Chives doesn't produce aerial bulblets, whereas Allium vineale (Field Garlic) and Allium canadense (Wild Garlic) almost always do. There is a less common variety of Chives, var. sibiricum, that is a taller and more robust plant, otherwise it is very similar to the typical variety.
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Description

This introduced perennial plant is about 6-18" tall, consisting of an erect to spreading rosette of basal leaves that develop from clustered bulbs. The basal leaves are linear-filiform, hollow, glabrous, and somewhat glaucous. Some of the the larger leaves may bend downward toward the middle. One or more flowering stalks develop within the basal leaves. These stalks are more or less erect and slightly taller than the surrounding leaves. They are usually leafless, although 1-2 cauline leaves may develop from an individual stalk. At the apex of each stalk, there is an umbel of pink or lavender flowers up to 1½" across. This umbel is spheroid and densely crowded with flowers. Each flower is up to ½" long, consisting of 6 lanceolate tepals that bend outward at their tips. There is a burgundy or purple longitudinal line along the length of each tepal. The slender pedicels are up to ¼" long and shorter than the tepals. Both the foliage and flowers have an onion-like aroma. The blooming period occurs during late spring and lasts about 3 weeks. Each flower is replaced by a 3-valved seed capsule that contains several seeds. The seeds are small and light enough to be blown about by the wind. The root system consists of slender bulbs about 1" long with membranous outer coats. They form abundant offsets and have coarse fibrous roots underneath. Chives often forms tight clumps of plants.
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Distribution

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Chives is an uncommon plant in the wild that has naturalized in only a few counties. It was introduced from Eurasia as a culinary herb, and can be found in herbal gardens. Habitats include grassy areas along railroads and roadsides, gardens and adjacent areas, and miscellaneous waste areas. Disturbed areas are preferred. Chives is less aggressive than Allium vineale (Field Garlic) and Allium canadense (Wild Garlic).
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Xinjiang [India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia; SW Asia, Europe, North America].
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Alta., B.C., Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.W.T., N.S., Nunavut, Ont., P.E.I., Que., Sask., Yukon; Alaska, Colo., Conn., Idaho, Maine, Mass., Mich., Minn., Mont., N.H., N.J., N.Y., Ohio, Oreg., Pa., R.I., Vt., Wash., Wis., Wyo.; Siberia.
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Distribution: Temperate and arctic regions in Europe and Asia, Middle East, Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Bulb narrowly ovoid, up to 2 cm long, 0.5 cm broad, scaly; scales membranous. Leaves 1-2, cylindrical, fistular, 1-2 mm broad, 10-15 cm long; leaf sheaths membranous, glabrous. Scapes up to 30 cm long. Umbels subglobose, c. 3 cm across. Flowers condensed. Pedicels unequal. Tepals pink, 10-12 mm long, lanceolate, acute. Filaments about half the length of the tepals, entire, narrowly triangular, connate at the base.
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Description

Bulbs usually clustered, ovoid-cylindric, 0.5--1 cm in diam.; tunic grayish brown or tinged with yellow, papery, laciniate, sometimes fibrous at apex. Leaves 1 or 2, slightly shorter than scape, 2--6 mm wide, terete, fistulose, smooth or scabrous-denticulate. Scape 10--40(--60) cm, terete, covered with leaf sheaths for 1/3--1/2 its length, smooth or scabrous-denticulate. Spathe 2-valved, purple-red, persistent. Umbel subglobose, densely many flowered. Pedicels usually unequal, shorter than perianth, ebracteolate. Perianth purple-red to pale red; segments lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate to oblong, equal, 7--11(--17) × 3--4 mm, apex acute or acuminate. Filaments 1/3--1/2(--2/3) as long as perianth segments, connate at base and adnate to perianth segments for 1--1.5 mm; inner ones with triangular base, ca. 1/2 as wide as outer. Ovary subglobose, with concave nectaries at base. Style not exserted. Fl. and fr. Jul--Sep.
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Description

Bulbs 1 or more, clustered, short-rhizomatous at base, cylindric, elongate, 0.5–0.9 × 1.5–2 cm; outer coats enclosing bulbs, grayish or brownish, persisting as fibrous reticulum but often appearing membranous as outer coats are lost during collecting, cells minutely striate; inner coats whitish or pinkish, cells closely parallel, elongate. Leaves persistent, green at anthesis, usually 2, distalmost usually ensheathing 1/3–1/2 scape; blade hollow, terete, fistulose, 20–60 cm × 2–7 mm. Scape persistent, 2–12+, clustered, erect, terete, fistulose, 20–50 cm × 3–5 mm. Umbel persistent, erect, compact, 30–50-flowered, ± subglobose, bulbils unknown; spathe bracts persistent, 2, 3–7-veined, lanceolate to broadly ovate, ± equal, apex short-acuminate. Flowers campanulate, 8–12 mm; tepals erect, pale purple to deep lilac, drying pink, particularly on midrib, or white, elliptic to lanceolate, ± equal, becoming papery in fruit, permanently investing capsule, margins entire, apex acute to acuminate, tips ± recurved, midribs not thickened; stamens included; anthers purple; pollen white; ovary crestless; style linear, equaling stamens; stigma capitate, unlobed or obscurely lobed; pedicel 2–6 mm. Seed coat shining; cells minutely roughened, not pustuliferous. 2n = 16.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

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Type Information

Isotype for Allium schoenoprasum var. laurentianum Fernald
Catalog Number: US 1325127
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): M. L. Fernald, K. M. Wiegand, B. Long, F. A. Gilbert & N. Hotchkiss
Year Collected: 1925
Locality: St. John Bay., Newfoundland, Canada, North America
  • Isotype: Fernald, M. L. 1926. Rhodora. 28: 167.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Chives is an uncommon plant in the wild that has naturalized in only a few counties. It was introduced from Eurasia as a culinary herb, and can be found in herbal gardens. Habitats include grassy areas along railroads and roadsides, gardens and adjacent areas, and miscellaneous waste areas. Disturbed areas are preferred. Chives is less aggressive than Allium vineale (Field Garlic) and Allium canadense (Wild Garlic).
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Wet meadows, rocky or gravelly stream banks and lake shores, circumboreal; 0--3500m.
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Meadows, valleys, damp slopes, along streams; 2000--3000 m.
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Associations

Foodplant / spot causer
Alternaria dematiaceous anamorph of Alternaria porri causes spots on live leaf of Allium schoenoprasum

Foodplant / pathogen
Ditylenchus dipsaci infects and damages live, swollen, distorted leaf of Allium schoenoprasum

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / feeds on
effuse colony of Cladosporium dematiaceous anamorph of Mycosphaerella allii-cepae feeds on scape of Allium schoenoprasum

Foodplant / sap sucker
Neotoxoptera formosana sucks sap of Allium schoenoprasum

Foodplant / miner
larva of Phytomyza gymnostoma mines leaf of Allium schoenoprasum
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
aecium of Puccinia allii parasitises live Allium schoenoprasum

Foodplant / pathogen
numerous sclerotium of Sclerotium cepivorum infects and damages white mycelial-coated bulb base of Allium schoenoprasum

Foodplant / parasite
elongated streaks or isolated pustules sorus of Urocystis magica parasitises live, swollen or twisted leaf of Allium schoenoprasum
Remarks: season: 4-11

Foodplant / parasite
telium of Uromyces ambiguus parasitises Allium schoenoprasum

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering Jun--Aug.
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Flower/Fruit

Fl.Per.: June-August.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Allium schoenoprasum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Allium schoenoprasum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T5 - Secure

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is full or partial sun, moist to mesic conditions, and a fertile loamy soil. This species has few problems with insect pests or disease. It is winter hardy and long-lived.
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Wikipedia

Chives

A clump of flowering chives
Chive seeds

Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) are the smallest species of the edible onions.[1] They are native to Europe, Asia and North America.[2]. Allium schoenoprasum is also the only species of Allium native to both the New and the Old World and is a perennial.

The name of the species derives from the Greek skhoínos (sedge) and práson (leek).[3] Its English name, chive, derives from the French word cive, from cepa, the Latin word for onion.[4]

In culinary uses, chives leaves (straws) are shredded for use as condiment for fish, potatoes and soups. Chives are a commonly used household herb, frequent in gardens and in grocery stores. It has insect-repelling properties which can be used in gardens to control pests.[5]

Contents

Biology

The chive is 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 leaves are hollow tubular, up to 50 cm long, and 2–3 mm in diameter, with a soft texture, although, prior to the emergence of a flower from a leaf, it may appear stiffer than usual. The flowers are pale purple, star-shaped with six tepals, 1–2 cm wide, and produced in a dense inflorescence of 10-30 together; before opening, the inflorescence is surrounded by a papery bract. The seeds are produced in a small three-valved capsule, maturing in summer. The herb flowers from April to May in the southern parts of its habitat zones and in June in the northern parts.[6][7]

Chives are the only species of Allium native to both the Old World and New. Sometimes, the plants found in North America are classified as A. schoenoprasum var. sibiricum, although this is disputed. There have been significant differences among specimens. One example was found in northern Maine growing solitary, instead of in clumps, also exhibiting dingy grey flowers.[8]

Although repulsive to insects in general, due to its sulfur compounds, its flowers are attractive to bees, and it is sometimes kept to increase desired insect life.[9]

Uses

Culinary arts

Chives are grown for their leaves, which are used for culinary purposes as flavoring herb, and provide a somewhat milder flavour than those of its neighbouring Allium species.

Chives have a wide variety of culinary uses, such as in traditional dishes in France and Sweden,[10] among others. In his 1806 book Attempt at a Flora (Försök til en flora), Retzius describes how chives are used with pancakes, soups, fish and sandwiches.[10] It is also an ingredient of the gräddfil sauce served with the traditional herring dish served at Swedish midsummer celebrations. The flowers may also be used to garnish dishes.[11] In Poland chives are served with quark cheese.

Chives are one of the "fines herbes" of French cuisine, which also include tarragon, chervil and/or parsley.

Chives can be found fresh at most markets year-round, making it a readily available herb; it can also be dry-frozen without much impairment to its taste, giving home growers the opportunity to store large quantities harvested from their own garden.[4]

Cultivation

Retzius also describes how farmers would plant chives between the rocks making up the borders of their flowerbeds, to keep the plants free from pests (such as Japanese beetles).[10][12] While the growing plant repels unwanted insect life, the juice of the leaves can be used for the same purpose, as well as fighting fungal infections, mildew and scab.[13][14][15]

Its flowers are attractive to bees, which are important for gardens with an abundance of plants in need of pollination.

Medicine

The medical properties of chives are similar to those of garlic, but weaker; the faint effects in comparison with garlic are probably the main reason for its limited use as a medicinal herb. Containing numerous organosulfur compounds such as allyl sulfides[16] and alkyl sulfoxides, chives are reported to have a beneficial effect on the circulatory system.[17] As chives are usually served in small amounts and never as the main dish, negative effects are rarely encountered, although digestive problems may occur following over-consumption.[17]

Chives are also rich in vitamins A and C,[18] contain trace amounts of sulfur, and are rich in calcium and iron.[19]

Cultivation

Chives are cultivated both for their culinary uses and their ornamental value; the violet flowers are often used in ornamental dry bouquets.[20]

Chives thrive in well drained soil, rich in organic matter, with a pH of 6-7 and full sun.[2]

Chives can be grown from seed and mature in summer, or early the following spring. Typically, chives need to be germinated at a temperature of 15 °C to 20 °C (60 °F-70 °F) and kept moist. They can also be planted under a cloche or germinated indoors in cooler climates, then planted out later. After at least four weeks, the young shoots should be ready to be planted out.

Chives are also easily propagated by division.[21]

In cold regions, chives die back to the underground bulbs in winter, with the new leaves appearing in early spring.

Chives starting to look old can be cut back to about 2–5 cm. When harvesting, the needed number of stalks should be cut to the base.[21] During the growing season, the plant will continually regrow leaves, allowing for a continuous harvest.[21]

History and cultural importance

Chives have been cultivated in Europe since the Middle Ages, although signs of its usage date back to 5000 years ago.[4] They were sometimes referred to as "rush leeks" (from the Greek schoinos meaning rush and parson meaning leek).

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.[22]

Romanian Gypsies have used chives in fortune telling.[18] It was believed that bunches of dried chives hung around a house would ward off disease and evil.[18]

See also

References

  1. ^ LaFray, Joyce (1987). Tropic Cooking: The New Cuisine from Florida and the Islands of the Caribbean. Oakland: Ten Speed Press. pp. 292. ISBN 0898152348. 
  2. ^ a b Allium schoenoprasum factsheet, from Kemper center for home gardening, retrieved on June 13, 2006
  3. ^ Gräslök, from Den virtuella floran, retrieved on June 13, 2006
  4. ^ a b c Chives, from homecooking.about.com, accessed on June 13, 2006
  5. ^ Kaufman, Peter B; Thomas J Carlson, Kaufman B Kaufman, Harry L Brielmann, Sara Warber, Leland J Cseke, James A Duke (1999). Natural Products from Plants. Boca Raton: CRC Press. pp. 261. 084933134X. 
  6. ^ Allium schoenoprasum factsheet, from Kemper center for home gardening, retrieved on June 13, 2006, based on the position of the botanical Garden (Missouri)
  7. ^ Gräslök, from Den virtuella floran, retrieved on June 13, 2006, The facts mentioned on the site apply to Sweden, which is in the northern part of the habitat zone.
  8. ^ McGary, Mary Jane (2001). Bulbs of North America: North American Rock Garden Society. Portland: Timber Press. pp. 28–29. 088192511X. 
  9. ^ Baines. C. Making a Wildlife Garden. 0
  10. ^ a b c Försök til en Flora Oeconomica Sveciæ by A. J. Retzius (1806)
  11. ^ Allium schoenoprasum, from Mountain valley growers, accessed on June 13, 2006
  12. ^ pests - selfsufficientish - pests
  13. ^ Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press 1979 ISBN 0-87857-262-7
  14. ^ Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. 1978 ISBN 0-88266-064-0
  15. ^ Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press 1992 ISBN 0-333-47494-5
  16. ^ Burdock, George A (1996). Encyclopedia of Food & Color Additives. Boca Raton: CRC Press. pp. 87, 95–96. ISBN 0849394120. 
  17. ^ a b Chive Talkin', by Winston J. Craig, Ph. D, from Vibrantlife.com, accessed on May 31, 2009
  18. ^ a b c Chives, from "Sally's place", accessed on May 31, 2009
  19. ^ http://www.organicgardeningpractices.com/garlicchives.php Organic Gardening
  20. ^ Flower & Garden Magazine, June-July 1996, The lazy gardener's guide to potpourri
  21. ^ a b c McGee, Rose Marie Nichols; Stuckey, Maggie (2002). The Bountiful Container. Workman Publishing. 
  22. ^ Staub, Jack E. (2008). 75 Exceptional Herbs for Your Garden. Gibbs Smith. p. 54. ISBN 97814236025144. 
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Notes

Comments

Allium schoenoprasum is native in North America, but it is also cultivated and has widely escaped. It is an extremely polymorphic species, and throughout its range both large and small races occur. These plants have been known as A. sibiricum, A. schoenoprasum var. sibiricum, or A. schoenoprasum var. laurentianum, and many, largely unsuccessful, attempts have been made to distinguish the varieties. Until the variation can be worked out along natural lines, if any, instead of unstable features such as plant size, and color and shape of the tepals, recognition of these varieties is unsound. Because we are unable to separate native populations from many of the escaped ones, we cannot reliably map the native distribution of this taxon in the flora.
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Comments

This is not a common species in Pakistan.
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