Some similarities to : Garden Leek, but Chives grows in clumps whereas Garden Leek grows singly.
The Scientific Name should not to be semantically confused with : Sand Leek (Allium scorodoprasum) which is remarkably similar to that of Chives (Allium schoenoprasum)
Uniquely identifiable characteristics, The glaucous green round hollow stems with a large number of lilac to mauve-coloured horn-shaped clusters of flowers with five triangular points.
Distinguishing Feature : The darker purple stripe on each petal. The two papery bracts beneath the almost spherical, (but not quite: some of the lower part is missing) flower head.
Superficial resemblance to: Thrift.
Grown as a herb in cottage gardens. The round hollow stems have a mild onion-like taste especially good when the flowers are prevented from growing (by nipping the buds off). Much more likely to be found in a garden than growing wild. The round stems are hollow, but surprisingly, are not filled with anything, not even a liquid, unlike those of Dandelion.
Chives contain up to 8% Vitamin K, 3% Vitamin A and a number of organo-sulfur compounds and their allyl derivatives, which have some beneficial effects to health. Chives sequester selenium from the soil at a concentration 10 times higher than do onions. The selenium can substitute for atoms of sulfur in the sulfur-containing amino acids Cysteine and
methionine to which it is related.
Methionine is one of only two amino acids containing any atoms of sulfur. It is essential, and used in the production of |
lecithin in plants as well as the growth hormone ethylene.
Chives also has the ability to tolerate normally toxic amounts of cadmium in the soil, in fact it not only tolerates it but hyperaccumulates cadmium. It is thus a valuable Metallophyte for the
phytoremediation of contaminated land, able to mop up cadmium, a heavy metal poison, from the soil. Note that to remove the metal entirely, the plant then has to be harvested and disposed of safely elsewhere. The whole cycle has to be repeated over several seasons to bring heavy metal contamination down to safe levels.