Chives

(Allium schoernoprasum) The word Chives came into the language through the French cive which is ultimately from Latin cepa, onion. The medieval versions of the word are siethes, sieves or sithes, still present in local forms. Predictably, Gerard was not impressed with chives as food, for, he said they "attenuate or make thin, open, provoke urine, ingender hot and grosse vapors, and are hurtfull to the eyes and brain. They cause troublesome dreames ...", "yet of them", Lupton recorded a few decades later, "prepared by the art of the Alchymist,, may be made an excellent Remedy for the stoppage of urine". One cannot help wondering what he had in mind in requiring the services of an alchemist in making a herbal medicine.

There is a record from Devonshire that chives were looked upon as a fairy musical instrument, but apart from that, there is no indication of any folklore association. It has its uses, though, apart from well-known culinary processes, for chive leaves infused in boiling water, and the resultant liquid diluted with twice the amount of plain water, is often used to combat gooseberry mildew and apple scab. Even planting chives beneath apple trees will, it appears, reduce scab.

Chlorophora excelsa see IROKO

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