06/13/2016 06:00 am ET Updated Jul 02, 2018

The Difference Between Chives And Scallions, Because You Need To Know

Who knew?

Chives, green onions or scallions ― what’s the difference?

They might taste similar, and you might even be able to substitute one for the other in some recipes ― but they are definitely not the same plants.

Here’s why:

Scallions and green onions (not chives) are actually the same thing ― alliums (specifically the genus and species Allium fistulosum). They’re long, green and floppy, with a bulb that doesn’t really bulge that much. Here’s what they look like:

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Spring onions, which also look similar, are scallions that have matured, have a bigger bulb and are spicier and more pungent than scallions.

Chives, on the other hand, are also alliums, but a different species (schoenoprasum), and grow like weeds -- and for a few weeks in early spring can be found with pretty little purple flowers on them! Chives are much more pungent herbs, best used diced into smaller doses. Even better, a chive's flowers are also entirely edible, and Bon Appetit recommends throwing them in to add a colorful "oniony burst" to salads and stir fries.

Here are some flowering chives, picked up at a local farmer's market, followed by photos of chives with the flowers cut off:

The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post

Now that you're equipped with the knowledge, try out your chives in the recipes below: