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How to Identify Wild Chives

Updated February 21, 2017

If you had to forage for food outdoors, among the other plants available, you could eat wild chives. Their flavour is similar to onions. One of the more flavourful ways to eat wild chives is to chop them up and mix them with sour cream on baked potatoes. Chives can be mixed in dip, used as salad toppings and used as garnish for casseroles, for just a few examples. Any time you want to add an onion flavour to a dish, you can use the leaves of wild chives.

Look for wild chives in the early springtime. They are one of the first plants to pop up. They tend to grow more in open areas with soil that's well-drained, but damp. Look for plants that resemble tufts of green grass from a distance. You can spot wild chives when they start out about a half-inch high. They can grow to be as tall as 2-feet high.

Look closely at a wild chive plant and you'll see the "blades" are actually tube-shaped stalks. Break off a stalk and smell it. It has a strong onion odour.

Notice how the oval-shaped leaves of wild chives are long and thin with pointy ends. Pinch some between your fingers and you'll find out they're hollow.

Look for bell-shaped lavender flowers that measure approximately 1 inch in diameter to identify wild chives. They start to grow flowers several weeks after their first appearances as tufts of grass. Wild chives typically flower from May to August. The flowers have 6sixpetals, six stamens and a pistil each.

Tip

Wild chives and wild garlic have some visual similarities. However, you can quickly tell the difference between the two plants by their smells. Chives smell like onions. Wild garlic doesn't make its appearance until June.

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About the Author

Kayar Sprang has been a professional freelance writer and researcher since 1999. She has had articles published by clients like Kraft Foods, "Woman's Day" magazine and Mom Junction. Sprang specializes in subjects she has expertise in, including gardening and home improvement. She lives on and maintains a multi-acre farm.