Botanical name: Allium schoenoprasum Family: Alliaceae (onion family)
Chives are a species of flowering plant in the onion family Alliaceae, native to Europe and Asia. They are referred to only in the plural, because they grow in clumps rather than alone. Chives are hardy, draught tolerant, perennials, eight to twenty inches tall, that grow in clumps from underground bulbs. The leaves are round and hollow, similar to onions, but smaller in diameter. In June or July, chives produce large round flower heads consisting of purple to pink flowers. The flowers, which bloom for two months in midsummer, form round deep purple or pink globes that make an attractive garnish. Chives are grown for their leaves, which are used as a vegetable or a herb; they have a somewhat milder flavour than onions, green onion or garlics. Among the latter three Allium plants, chives resemble most the ordor of green onions.
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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