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Chicory Cichorium intybus

Phonetic Spelling
sik-KOR-ee-um IN-tye-bus
Description

Chicory, is a biennail member of the Asteraceae (daisy) family, was introduced from Europe and has become naturalized over much of the nation.   It is common to see its pretty blue flowers along roadsides and other disturbed sites.  While it can be weedy it does not frequently invade natural habitats.  The deep fleshy taproot exudes a milky sap when cut.and the plant grows typically 2 to 4 feet tall and 1 foot wide.

This easy to grow plant prefers full sun and well-drained soil though its withstands a wide variety of soil types.  It does best cool weather and one established can be quite drought tolerant though it does not do well in heat and humidity so it can suffer in southern summers.  It is weedy in fields, pastures, and along roadsides and considered invasive in some states.

Edible, though bitter, rough hairy leaves resemble dandelion leaves appear in a rosette its first year.  In its second season upright wiry stems appear dotted with attractive blue flowers that usually close by mid-day.   The roots are also edible and are often dried, ground and used as a coffee substitute.

Both wild and cultivated varieties exist, the latter including eadicchio and Belgian wndive which are very different from this parents plant. Cichorium endivia is the salad green known as curly endive.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.  Slugs, snails, and cutworms are occasional pests.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • var. foliosum
    Belaian Endive, French Endive, Radicchio
var. foliosum
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#weeds#easy to grow#edible weed#weedy#blue flowers#long bloom time#edible roots#self-seeding#hairy leaves#edible garden#lawn weed#drought tolerant vegetable#roadside
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • var. foliosum
    Belaian Endive, French Endive, Radicchio
var. foliosum
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#drought tolerant#weeds#easy to grow#edible weed#weedy#blue flowers#long bloom time#edible roots#self-seeding#hairy leaves#edible garden#lawn weed#drought tolerant vegetable#roadside
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cichorium
    Species:
    intybus
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Leaves, roots, and buds have been used medicinally.
    Life Cycle:
    Biennial
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees and butterflies nectar at the flowers.
    Edibility:
    Leaves can be used in salads or cooked to reduce bitter flavor. Roots can be dried and used as a coffee substitute.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Vegetable
    Weed
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Cream/Tan
    Fruit Type:
    Achene
    Fruit Description:
    Brown oblong and 5-ribbed achene with blunt ends. The wider end has a bristles across the top.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Saucer
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    1-1.5 inch ligulate flower heads with numerous bright blue rays with blunt toothed edges. Flowers are stalkless and grow along the stem open in the morning and close up by noon unless it is cloudy. They appear from mid-summer until the first frost.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The alternate leaves are up to 8" long and 2" across, becoming smaller as they ascend the stems. They are lance-shaped and resemble dandelion leaves at the base. Each leaf narrows gradually where it is either sessile or clasps the stem. Leaf margins vary from lobed to dentate to and as the leaves move up the stem they lose their petioles and clasp the stem. There are usually conspicuous hairs along the central vein of the lower leaf surface.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Green to reddish-brown erect stems with the lower part having hairs, milky sap.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Problems:
    Weedy