Allium schoenoprasum

Allium schoenoprasum is the species known as chives. The range of chive forms provides a constant source of interest for this single species! In the first photo we see a semi-dwarf form, growing 10-12" (25-30 cm) tall, with informal jostled heads of lilac-purple. In the second there is a garden view showing an array of color forms from white, through shades of pink and mauve. Photos 1-2 by Mark McDonough. Photos 3-6 by David Pilling show a single flower which despite being small has the same form as all alliums, seed heads with seeds on a 10 mm grid, shoots appearing in March and buds in the middle of May.

Allium schoenoprasum, 'floppy-headed semi-dwarf', Mark McDonoughAllium schoenoprasum, 'mixed semi-dwarf forms', Mark McDonoughAllium schoenoprasum, David PillingAllium schoenoprasum, David PillingAllium schoenoprasum, David PillingAllium schoenoprasum, David Pilling

Photo of a mountain growing form from the Altai Region in Central Asia by Andrey Dedov.

Allium schoenoprasum, Andrey Dedov

'Curly Mauve' is a hybrid that I named, being one of the better "curly types" and a fascinating plant on many accounts. Many forms of chives actually have prostrate foliage; this one starts out prostrate, later becoming a misty blue-gray dance of medusa whips curling in all directions. In June the stems stand erect above the short curled foliage to open a sea of grayed-lavender chive florets. The five photos below show a growth progression. Photos by Mark McDonough.

Allium schoenoprasum 'Curly Mauve', Mark McDonoughAllium schoenoprasum 'Curly Mauve', Mark McDonoughAllium schoenoprasum 'Curly Mauve', Mark McDonoughAllium schoenoprasum 'Curly Mauve', Mark McDonoughAllium schoenoprasum 'Curly Mauve', Mark McDonough

"Curly Mauve seedling" - Here we see a spontaneous garden seedling that caught my eye in early spring because of the octopus-like rosette, the blue-gray curled tentacles swirling around flat on the ground. Photo by Mark McDonough.

Allium schoenoprasum, Mark McDonough

'Marsha' is a very deep purple form of chives, named for my friend Marsha Russell who had the deep form appear in her garden. I've had similar deep-color forms appear in the garden. Seed grown plants will vary, but a good percentage will yield similar purple forms. Grows 2'(60 cm) tall. Photo by Mark McDonough.

Allium schoenoprasum 'Marsha', Mark McDonough

'Snowcap' (with American species Spiraea densiflora) - Lots of plants go around as Allium scoenoprasum 'Alba', but it's rather ridiculous given that numerous forms of chives, from robust 2' (60 cm) tall plants to little 6" (15 cm) dwarf forms, might have white flowers. It's better to give these various white forms cultivar names. This seedling that I selected and named was derived from another dwarf white cultivar (that I also named) called 'Corsican White', the latter a miniature white-flowered form from Corsica. The selection named 'Snowcap' is a semi-dwarf, growing 12"-15" (30-38 cm) tall, with pristine white flowers. Photos by Mark McDonough.

Allium schoenoprasum 'Snowcap', Mark McDonoughAllium schoenoprasum 'Snowcap', Mark McDonough

"Dwarf pinkish-mauve form from Corsica" - I received seed years ago of chives wild collected in Corsica. This was a very dwarf form, growing only 6-8" (15-20 cm) tall, with much sparser, very narrow foliage, slender stems and adorable little clusters of bloom in many colors. Subsequent seedling progeny has led to some very good selected forms. The photo is not very good, being a scan from a slide, showing a plant in the rock garden when I lived near Seattle, Washington. Photo by Mark McDonough.

Allium schoenoprasum - from Corsica, Mark McDonough
Page last modified on August 01, 2015, at 02:46 PM