Cichorium intybus


Names and Myths

Cichorium from Egyptian or Arabic word meaning Chicory.

intybus relating to chickory = endive

Natural history / Folklore

Mentioned by Pliny, Ovid, Virgil and Horace; both as a salad green and a vegetable. Earlier Theophrastus a Greek naturalist said the plant had been used by the ancients.57

Introduced to the United States by early European colonists.23 Used for greens when the leaves are young, French dig the roots and force them in cellars resulting white shoots are used in salad. Beginning in the 18th century  in Holland the root has been roasted and used in coffee, or as a coffee substitute. Grown under special conditions a European variety is sold as Belgian endive.12,17

Thomas Jefferson raised chicory as a crop from seeds brought from Italy, he told Washington that it was an excellent cattle fodder. Later migrations of Europeans spread it to its present distribution.57

Nectar source for buckeye butterfly. Introduced alien, naturalized

Species List Family Group
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June -  October Three to four foot stalks with sparse leaves and bright blue flowers. Large deep taproot and milky sap. Flowers open in the morning and often have closed by noon. Blue rays fringed at tip, flower heads to 1 1/2” Stalkless along the stem. Often growing along roadsides.