Like garlic and leeks, chive belongs to the onion family, growing wild in northern Europe, Greece, and Italy. Ancient civilizations are thought to have been familiar with it, but rumors claiming that chives "send up hurtful vapors to the brain" fortunately were unfounded.
This bulb plant has hollow, dark green leaves which are cylindrical and very slender, tapering to a point at the top. They are 6 to 10 inches long with a surrounding stem at the base. Flowering stems shoot up from the bulb. The small, pale purple flower forms a dense, globular umbel at the top of the stem. The 1/2-inch-long petals have bluish purple anthers.
Culinary, decorative, and medicinal.
Fresh leaves are excellent for making herbal butters and vinegars. They also may be used in salads, soups, and soft cheese and on grilled meats. Chives are one of the fines herbes and can be chopped and mixed together with chervil, parsley, and tarragon to make a savory yet mild blend of herbs to flavor cooked chicken and fish, salads, steamed vegetables, soups, and omelettes. A good source of calcium, chives are believed to strengthen nails and teeth when consumed. The plants are grown for their attractive flowers and can be planted in containers. Chive is said to have some medicinal qualities.
After planting chive in a random pattern in the garden, we decided the plants would be more effective in a clump.