Allium schoenoprasum is an edible species of the Allium genus that is also commonly known as Chives. This is a bulb-forming herbaceous perennial plant, growing up to 30–50 cm (12–20 in) tall, widespread in nature across Europe, Asia and North America. The flowers are pale purple, and star-shaped with six petals, 1–2 cm (1⁄2–3⁄4 in) wide, and produced in a dense inflorescence of 10-30 together. Before opening, the inflorescence is surrounded by a papery bract. The seeds are produced in a small three-valved capsule, maturing in summer. The herb flowers from April to May.
Chives have been cultivated in Europe since the Middle Ages , although their usage dates back 3000 years. The Romans believed chives could relieve the pain from sunburn or a sore throat. They also believed that eating chives could increase the blood pressure.
Plants of the Allium genus produce chemicals that give them a characteristic onion taste and odor. Although chives are repulsive to insects in general, their flowers are attractive to the bees and this is of a big importance concerning the process of pollination of the plants. Chives are cultivated both for their culinary uses and their ornamental value.