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(Cichorium intybus)

Other Names:



Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

Tall herbaceous perennial


Up to 4 feet tall


leaves forming a basal rosette. The 4" - 6" leaves are Deeply toothed, with a prominent midribs and or leaf stalks which are often reddish. Most of the leaves have irregular hairs on them. In early spring Chicory closely resembles dandelion and wild lettuce. The teeth of the leaves are not opposite like they are in dandelions. Once the flower stem appears, any resemblance to either is quickly lost. Dandelion leaves are also hairless.


Stiff erect nearly naked stems with strikingly blue stalkless flowers.


White fleshy taproot.



Late spring through summer.


Stalkless blue rays approximately 1-1/2 in in diameter. Flowers can sometimes be white. The petals are square tipped and fringed. The flowers close by afternoon, or when cloudy.



Miscellaneous characteristics:

Chicory has no poisonous look alikes.


Disturbed Areas, Roadsides, and Fields

Parts Used:

Young Leaves before flower stalks appear,  Flowers, Taproot


Wild Food Uses:

The young leaves are wonderful in salads, but most people find the older leaves too bitter to eat. I do however like to add small amounts to salads, as I find the bitterness a nice addition to normally bland salad greens. The older leaves can be made more palatable by boiling them in a couple changes of water. The taproot is much too fibrous to eat, but it can be roasted, and ground to make a very good coffee substitute. As a matter of fact, Chicory is added to many commercial coffees as an agent to cut bitterness. Use ground chicory in a coffee maker just like your normal coffee. The resulting brew tastes quite a bit like coffee but it is much more smooth. It also lacks the caffeine which can make you jittery.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

Add 1 ounce of root to 1 ounce of water is used as a diuretic, or laxative. Also used to treat jaundice, skin eruptions, and fevers. Lowers blood sugar, slightly sedative, and mildly laxative. Leaf extracts are weaker than root extracts.

Medicinal Actions:

Aperient, Diuretic, Febrifuge, Laxative, Sedative

Some photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield