Is anyone else getting hungry for a baked potato? This plant is likely to be familiar to most, if not in the garden then surely in the kitchen. Allium schoenoprasum, or chives, is thought to be native to Asia, Europe, and North America. This distribution in both the old and new world is unique among allium species. Tufts of hollow tubular leaves grow 30-50 cm tall. Dense clusters of lavender to purple flowers are borne just above the leaves.
The mild-flavored leaves of this allium are used by peoples all around the world as a seasoning. While they contain the same chemical flavor constituents as garlic or onions, the milder chives will not overwhelm more subtle dishes. For more on culinary use, check out Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages entry and Sandy Marie’s Herbal How To Guide page.