Allium schoenoprasum 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Liliopsida Asparagales Amaryllidaceae

Scientific Name: Allium schoenoprasum L.
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Chives
French Ciboulette , Civette
Spanish Cebolleta, Cebollino común
Allium alpinum Hegetschw.
Allium foliosum DC.
Allium gredense Rivas Goday
Allium montanum Schrank
Allium purpurascens Losa
Allium riparium Opiz
Taxonomic Notes: Allium schoenoprasum L. is a tertiary wild relative of a number of crops in the Allium group, including Onion (A. cepa L.), Welsh Onion (A. fistulosum L.), Leek (A. porrum L.) and Garlic (A. sativum L.) (Friesen et al. 2006, USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2013).

Two subspecies are native to Europe: A. schoenoprasum subsp. alpinum (DC.) Čelak. and A. schoenoprasum L. subsp. schoenoprasum (Euro+Med PlantBase 2006); these are primary wild relatives of Chives.

Three subspecies are recognized in Iberia: A. schoenoprasum subsp. orosiae, A. schoenoprasum subsp. latiorifolium and A. schoenoprasum subsp. schoenoprasum.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2013-01-05
Assessor(s): Maxted, N. & Rhodes, L.
Reviewer(s): Fielder, H.
Contributor(s): Kell, S.P., Kik, C., Draper Munt, D., Korpelainen, H., Eliáš, P., Labokas, J., Smekalova, T., Tavares, M., Strajeru, S., Magos Brehm, J. & Bulińska, Z.
Allium schoenoprasum is a widespread species that is suspected to be stable through much of its range and is also present with reproducing populations in protected areas in Europe, Russia, North America and China. It is also conserved ex situ, however, some areas within the species' range may be under-represented in germplasm collections and so further collection and back-up storage of germplasm material is recommended. Due to this species' threatened status in some regions, national level monitoring is also recommended (Kell et al. 2013).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Allium schoenoprasum is native to many parts of northern, middle, east, southeastern and southwestern Europe, as well as temperate Asia, Canada, the USA, India and Pakistan (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2010).

As identified by Kell et al. (2013), information on the distribution of this species is available for the following countries:
  • Czech Republic: A. schoenoprasum subsp. alpinum is known in three localities in national parks and A. schoenoprasum subsp. schoenoprasum is widespread along the Elbe and Vltava Rivers.
  • Finland: occurs in the whole country but most frequently in the south. A. schoenoprasum subsp. schoenoprasum occurs in the south with one known occurrence in central-northern Finland. A. schoenoprasum subsp. alpinum occurs in the northern-most part of the country.
  • France: widespread, occurs in over half of the country's 100 departments, but is marginally less widespread in the north (Association Tela Botanica 2000–2010).
  • Iberia: A. schoenoprasum ssp. orosiae from western Pyrennes and ssp. A. schoenoprasum subsp. latiorifolium from Sierra De Guadarrama.
  • Ireland: limited distribution, occurring in only seven localities (Preston et al. 2002). However, according to Preston et al. (2002), it is only native in two of these localities (in the west).
  • Netherlands: distributed along the large rivers (Mennema et al. 1985).
  • Norway: A. schoenoprasum subsp. schoenoprasum occurs in the south and A. schoenoprasum subsp. alpinum in the north.
  • Portugal: occurs in the northwest.
  • Slovakia: A. schoenoprasum subsp. alpinum is scattered in mountain regions in northern and northwestern parts of the country (Dostál and Červenka 1992).
  • UK: patchy distribution throughout England and parts of Scotland, but has only be recorded in one locality in Northern Ireland (Preston et al. 2002). However, according to Preston et al. (2002), it is only native in a few localities in the west (mainly Cornwall and Wales) and the northeast.
Choi and Oh (2011) believe that existing records of this species in Korea are the result of a misidentification of herbarium specimens, verified to be Allium maximowiczii, and therefore propose the exclusion of A. schoenoprasum from Korean Allium lists as it is not native to this country (Choi et al. 2004). 
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Andorra; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bulgaria; Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland I, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward I., Québec, Saskatchewan, Yukon); China (Xinjiang); Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; Estonia; Finland; France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Georgia; Germany; Greece (Greece (mainland)); Hungary; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Italy (Italy (mainland)); Japan (Hokkaido, Honshu); Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Liechtenstein; Mongolia; Netherlands; Norway; Pakistan; Poland; Romania; Russian Federation (Altay, Buryatiya, Central Asian Russia, Chechnya, Chita, Dagestan, Eastern Asian Russia, European Russia, Ingushetiya, Irkutsk, Kabardino-Balkariya, Kamchatka, Karachaevo-Cherkessiya, Khabarovsk, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, North European Russia, Primoryi, Severo-Osetiya, Stavropol, Tuva, West Siberia, Yakutiya); Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Spain (mainland)); Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia); Ukraine (Ukraine (main part)); United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland); United States (Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming)
Present - origin uncertain:
Ireland; Latvia; Lithuania; Portugal (Portugal (mainland))
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Allium schoenoprasum has a stable population trend in Slovakia and is noted as common where it is found in Germany and Norway (Kell et al. 2013). In the United States this species Critically Imperiled in Colorado, New Hampshire and Vermont, Imperiled in Michigan and Minnesota and Apparently Secure in Montana and Wyoming (NatureServe 2013). In Canada it is reported to be Imperiled in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia and Apparently Secure in Yukon, Manitoba and Ontario; it is not ranked throughout the rest of its North American Range (NatureServe 2013). Further research is needed to gather information about the population size and trend throughout the rest of this species' range, however given the widespread nature of this species global population is suspected to be stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:No
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

In Europe A. schoenoprasum subsp. schoenoprasum grows along river banks and in wet meadows, while A. schoenoprasum subsp. alpinum occurs in alpine grasslands, on rocky ledges, in crevices and dry places with little soil (Kell et al. 2013).

In the UK, this species occurs in a range of lowland habitat types but is most commonly found on thin soils over limestone, serpentine and igneous rocks . It is also known to grow in rank grass on deeper soils and within crevices in riverside bedrock (Preston et al. 2002). In Finland the species is found in agricultural habitats, rocky areas and shores (Kell et al. 2013).

Within the Canadian prairie provinces this species occurs in wet meadows, rocky or gravely mountain slopes, on stream banks and the lake shores of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. It has a similar habitat type in Russia, where it prefers damp meadows in river valleys, alpine meadows, lake shores and riverbanks, stony slopes, and tundra (Chukhina 2009). 

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Allium schoenoprasum, commonly known as Chives, is a widely cultivated species. In Europe the young leaves are appreciated as an early vitamin source in the spring and are used as a condiment for salads and sauces (Rabinowitch and Currah 2002, Kell et al. 2013).

A. schoenoprasum subsp. alpinum and A. schoenoprasum subsp. schoenoprasum are primary wild relatives of and potential gene donors to Chives. The species is also a tertiary wild relative of and potential gene donor to a number of other crops in the Allium group, including Onion A. cepa L., Welsh Onion A. fistulosum L., Leek A. porrum L. and Garlic A. sativum L (Friesen et al. 2006, USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2013, Kell et al. 2013). It is also documented to be a cold-tolerant species by Chukhina (2009).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

In Finland, Allium schoenoprasum subsp. alpinum is threatened by habitat destruction through tourism and has been classified as Near Threatened (almost meeting VU D2). This species is also known to have been threatened in the Netherlands by the modification of river dunes (Mennema et al. 1985). Threats across the rest of this species' range remain unknown. 

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: According to Kell et al. (2013), knowledge of this species' national threat status in Europe is as follows:
  • Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia: A. schoenoprasum subsp. alpinum is classified as Vulnerable.
  • Finland: A. schoenoprasum subsp. alpinum is classified as Near Threatened, while A. schoenoprasum subsp. schoenoprasum is classified as Least Concern.
  • Denmark: this species is classified as Data Deficient (Wind and Pihl 2010).
In France this species is protected in the region of Bretagne in the west (Association Tela Botanica 2000–2010).

This species is documented to be present in the following protected areas (Information Center for the Environment (ICE) 2013): 
  • Russia – Barguzinskiy Biosphere Reserve, Bassegi Zapovednik (abundant with reproducing population), Katunsky Biosphere Reserve (abundant with reproducing population), Kavkazskiy Biosphere Reserve (abundant with reproducing population), Kronotskiy Biosphere Reserve, Magadansky Zapovednik (uncommon), Ostrov Vrangelya (Wrangel Island) Zapovednik (common with reproducing population), Pechoro-Ilychskiy Biosphere Reserve (common), Sayano-Shushenskiy Biosphere Reserve (rare with reproducing population) and Taimyrsky Biosphere Reserve (rare with reproducing population). 
  • China – Changbai Mountain Nature Reserve
  • Belarus – Belovezhskaya Pushcha Biosphere Reserve
  • Poland – Puszcza Kampinoska 
  • Czech Republic – Palava Protected Landscape Area and Trebon Basin Protected Landscape Area
  • Germany – Berchtesgaden Alps (rare), Flusslandschaft Elbe Biosphere Reserve, Schorfheide-Chorin, and Waddensea of Lower Saxony 
  • United States of America – Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, MA (uncommon with reproducing population); Glacier National Park and Biosphere Reserve, MT (reproducing population present); Grand Portage National Monument, MN (non reproducing population present); Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, IN; Isle Royale Biosphere Reserve, MI (uncommon with reproducing population); Kobuk Valley National Park, AK; Noatak Biosphere Reserve, AK; Noatak National Preserve, AK; Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, MI (non-reproducing population present) and Yellowstone Biosphere Reserve, ID, MT, WY (reproducing population present)
  • Canada – Niagara Escarpment Biosphere Reserve and Woodland Caribou Provincial Wilderness Park (rare but reproducing population)

EURISCO reports 174 germplasm accessions held in European genebanks, 76 of which are reported to be of wild or weedy origin. Of the wild accessions, 73 originate from within Europe. The majority of these wild accessions originate from Sweden (40) (EURISCO Catalogue 2010).

Twenty-six accessions are held in the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS), six of which are of wild origin and a further three of which are backed up at a second site (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2014). Furthermore, 74 accessions (38,300 seeds) are duplicated and conserved ex situ in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, originating from two gene banks (SGSV Data Portal 2013).

According to Botanical Garden Conservation International (BGCI 2013), this species has at least 145 living collections in botanical gardens worldwide, although the origin and location of the collection are not detailed in this resource (garden locations are undisclosed to protect rare and valuable plant species).

Citation: Maxted, N. & Rhodes, L. 2016. Allium schoenoprasum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T172256A19391728. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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