Cichorium intybus - Chicory


Chicory is native to Europe. It can be weedy in some crop situations, and is often seen in great numbers along roadsides, ditches, and fencerows. I rarely see the plant in well-maintained nursery crops.

As a matter of liability, this website does not recommend eating any wild plant. Nonetheless, leaves of chicory are supposedly prized in French salads, and the roots are used as a coffee additive.

Chicory is a perennial that spreads by seed. It grows 2 to 5 feet tall and in clumps of variable width.

Plants are most often seen along roadsides or in abandoned lots. I rarely see this plant in maintained nursery crops. Below it is growing in an orchard (cherries?).

Rosettes are variable, but generally resemble those of dandelion. Leaves are pinnately lobed, 6 to 8 inches long, and sparsely pubescent.

Cauline leaves are sessile and clasp the stem.

Stems are ridged and often have a red-purple coloration.

Chicory flowers are among the prettiest blue color I've seen on any plant. If not for its scraggly habit and spreading nature, it might make a fine ornamental.

Flower heads are composite blue ray flowers. Each head is approximately 3/4 to 1 inch in diameter.

As if the stark blue color weren't a dead give-away, another identification characteristic would be the glandular involucre. You may have to click on the image to enlarge it and see the small spherical bodies attached to the involucre.

Return to the Weed Species Page

Return to the Weed Management Homepage

Email comments to James Altland