Cichorium intybus
Common Name: chicory
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Europe, western Asia, northern Africa
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to October
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable
Leaf: Colorful

Culture

Easily grown in medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers neutral to alkaline soils. Best in cool summer climates. Does not grow well in the heat and humidity of the deep South. Established plants have some tolerance for drought.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cichorium intybus, commonly known as chicory or succory, is a taprooted perennial herb that typically grows to 2-4’ tall. Although native to Europe, it has naturalized over time throughout much of the U.S. where it is typically now found growing in fields, pastures, waste areas and roadsides. A procession of attractive, stalkless, clear blue flowers (to 1” across) hug rigid nearly leafless stems in a long May/June to September/October bloom. Spring bloom may begin as early as March in warm southern climates. Rays are typically blue but occasionally white or pink. Flowers usually close up by noon. Lower lance-shaped, dandelion-like, basal leaves (3-6” long) are variously toothed, cut or lobed and have rough-hairy surfaces. Upper stem leaves are smaller with clasping bases. Deep fleshy taproot exudes a milky sap when cut.

Some varieties of this species are cultivated as leafy vegetables and other varieties are cultivated for their roots which are dried and used as a coffee substitute.

Chicory has become a significant weed in some areas. The within species is currently included on the “List C” itemized on the Colorado Noxious Weed Act which specifies that this plant must be either eradicated, contained or suppressed depending on location in the State.

Genus name comes from the Latinized version of the Arabic name for one species.

Specific epithet is a modification of another eastern name in reference to this plant and endive.

Cichorium endivia is commonly grown and harvested as the salad green known as endive.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for snails, slugs and cutworms.

Garden Uses

Beautiful flowering roadside weed with varieties that are sometimes cultivated for use of their leaves as salad greens or for use of their dried roots as a coffee substitute.