homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner
Allium schoenoprasum - L.
Common Name Chives, Wild chives, Flowering Onion
Family Alliaceae
USDA hardiness 5-11
Known Hazards Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in very large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[76].
Habitats Rocky pastures and damp meadows, preferring calcareous soils[17, 90].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, east to the Himalayas and Japan.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Bloom Color: Pink. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late spring.Form: Irregular or sprawling, Upright or erect.

Allium schoenoprasum Chives, Wild chives, Flowering Onion

Allium schoenoprasum Chives, Wild chives, Flowering Onion
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of bulb
Allium schoenoprasum is a BULB growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Feb It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Hedgerow; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw, cooked or dried for later use. The leaves have a mild onion flavour and are an excellent addition to mixed salads, they can also be used as a flavouring in soups etc[2, 4, 5, 9, 27, 33]. The leaves are often available from late winter and can continue to produce leaves until early the following winter, especially if they are in a warm, sheltered position[K]. A good source of sulphur and iron[201]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. The bulbs are rather small, and rarely exceed 10mm in diameter[200]. They can be harvested with the leaves still attached and be used as spring onions[K]. They have a pleasant mild onion flavour. The flowers can be used as a garnish in salads etc[183]. The flowers of this species are rather dry and less desirable than the flowers of many other species[K].
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)
  • 330 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 27g; Fat: 5.5g; Carbohydrate: 60g; Fibre: 10.7g; Ash: 7g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 900mg; Phosphorus: 509mg; Iron: 15mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 2874mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 40000mg; Thiamine (B1): 1.1mg; Riboflavin (B2): 1.15mg; Niacin: 6mg; B6: 0mg; C: 522mg;
  • Reference: [ 218]
  • Notes: The figures given here are the median figures of a range that was quoted in the report.
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Appetizer;  Digestive;  Hypotensive;  Tonic.

The whole plant has a beneficial effect on the digestive system and the blood circulation. It improves the appetite, is digestive, hypotensive and tonic[201]. It has similar properties to garlic (A. sativum), but in a much milder form, and it is rarely used medicinally[238].
Other Uses
Fungicide;  Repellent.

The juice of the plant is used as an insect repellent, it also has fungicidal properties and is effective against scab, mildew etc[14, 18, 20, 201]. The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles[14, 20, 200].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Massing, Rock garden. An easily grown plant[203], it prefers a sunny position in a rich moist but well-drained soil[14, 37], though it succeeds in most soils[1, 37, 200] and also in light shade[203]. Grows well in heavy clay soils[203]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.2 to 8.3. Chives are commonly cultivated in the garden for their edible leaves which are available from late winter to the beginning of the following winter[K]. The bulbs divide rapidly and large clumps are quickly formed. There are some named varieties[183, 200, 203]. Chives are very tolerant of heavy harvesting, regular cutting of the leaves ensures a continuous supply of young leaves and prevents the plants flowering[33]. Plants can be moved into a frame or other protected environment in the autumn and will then produce leaves throughout the winter[33]. Do not do this every year or it weakens the plants. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. A good bee plant[24]. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes[18, 20, 54]. Helps to reduce the incidence of scab when it is grown under apple trees[201]. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other[201]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233]. Special Features: North American native, Edible, Fragrant foliage, Invasive, Naturalizing, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Fragrant flowers.
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy, pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle easily and plant out in the following spring. Division can be carried out at almost any time of the year but is probably best done in spring. The clumps should be divided at least every 3 or 4 years in order to maintain vigour[200], the divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Allium acuminatumHooker's Onion, Tapertip onion32
Allium aflatunensePersian Onion, Ornamental Onion22
Allium akaka 32
Allium altaicum 32
Allium ampeloprasumWild Leek, Broadleaf wild leek53
Allium ampeloprasum babingtoniiBabington's Leek33
Allium angulare 32
Allium angulosumMouse Garlic32
Allium atropurpureum 32
Allium bisceptrumAspen Onion, Twincrest onion32
Allium bodeanum 32
Allium bolanderiBolander's Onion32
Allium brevistylumShortstyle Onion32
Allium canadenseCanadian Garlic, Meadow garlic, Fraser meadow garlic, Hyacinth meadow garlic42
Allium canadense mobilenseCanadian Garlic52
Allium carinatumKeeled Garlic32
Allium carolinianum 32
Allium cepaOnion, Garden onion53
Allium cepa aggregatumPotato Onion43
Allium cepa ascalonicumShallot53
Allium cepa proliferumTree Onion53
Allium cernuumNodding Onion, New Mexican nodding onion52
Allium chinenseRakkyo42
Allium condensatum 32
Allium cupanii 32
Allium douglasiiDouglas' Onion32
Allium dregeanumWild Onion32
Allium drummondiiPrairie Onion, Drummond's onion32
Allium fistulosumWelsh Onion52
Allium flavumSmall Yellow Onion, Ornamental Onion22
Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

      You can download this page as a PDF

Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
Elizabeth H.
Wed Sep 6 2006
i'm very interested in chives,i am a grower in northwest mexico and exporting to the u.s. so any information is wellcome.thanks a lot. sergio r. batiz
Elizabeth H.
S SANKARAN Tue Mar 11 2008
I am interested to import 100kg seed. pl submit your quote.
Elizabeth H.
Marinella Zepigi Tue Jun 10 2008

Acta plantarum forum botanico Allium schoenoprasum L. - Description - Photos

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Add a comment/link

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

Subject : Allium schoenoprasum  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design


Content Help
Support Us
Old Database Search
About Us
Sign In

PFAF Newsletter

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email newsletter. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.