Plant Name Chicory  
Scientific Name Cichorium Intybus  
Family Aster  
Plant Type Perenial  
Start of Blooming Season June  
End of Blooming Season October


Chicory, Cichorium intybus, is a perennial herbaceous plant usually found with bright blue, rarely white or pink, flowers. Many varieties of chicory are cultivated for salad leaves as well as the root of the plant. Chicory roots, once baked and ground, can be used as a substitute to coffee. Wild chicory leaves are usually bitter. Their bitterness is appreciated in certain cuisines, such as in certain regions of Italy and also in Spain, Greece, and in Turkey. In Albania the leaves are used as a spinach substitute, mainly served simmered and marinated in olive oil, or as ingredient for fillings of byrek. "Chicory" is also the common name in the United States for curly endive, Cichorium endivia; these two closely related species are often confused. The chicory plant is one of the earliest cited plant species in recorded literature including unani system of medicine. The cultivated chicory plant has a history reaching back to ancient Egyptian time. Medieval monks raised the plants and when coffee was introduced to Europe, the Dutch thought that chicory made a lively addition to the bean drink. In 1766, Frederick the Great banned the importatation of coffee into Prussia leading to the development of a coffee-substitute by Brunswick innkeeper Christian Gottlieb Förster (????-1801) who gained a concession in 1769 to manufacture it in Brunswick and Berlin. By 1795 there were twenty two to twenty four factories of this type in Brunswick. Chicory was also adopted as a coffee substitute by Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War, and has become common in the United States. It was also used in the United Kingdom during the Second World War, where Camp Coffee, a coffee and chicory essence, has been on sale since 1885.

Chicory is used as a flavour additive in certain styles of coffee. Chicory is also used as a forage crop for livestock and horses.

Within the realm of rational and holistic medicine, chicory can be used as a bitter digestive tonic. Drinking chicory on a regular basis helps to rid the body of excess water and uric acid buildup without depleting potassium and other minerals, helping to support the liver and the heart. This also makes chicory a good beverage for those with rheumatism and gout.

Please note that MIROFOSS does not suggest in any way that plants should be used in place of proper medical and psychological care. This information is provided here as a reference only.

Chicory is considered edible. The chicory plant has a somewhat bitter taste which can be partially removed by changing the water the plant is boiling in.

Chicory is native to Europe and has been widely naturalized in North America and Australia. Chicory grows along roadsides, in fields, as well as waste places. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

Soil Conditions
Soil Moisture

The stems of the chicory plant are somewhat woody with flower heads that are 2cm to 4cm wide. Chicory reproduces only by seeds and the pollen of the chicory plant is spread by insects. Chicory seeds do not have any feathery hairs, pappus, but do have toothed scales on top. Chicory is considered a weed in many North American jurisdictions. When flowering, chicory has a tough, grooved, and more or less hairy stem, from 30cm to 130cm tall.


Plant Height 30cm to 130cm
Habitat Fields, Roadsides, Waste places
Leaves Lanceolate  
Leaf Margin Lobate
Leaf Venation Longitudinal
Stems Smooth Stems
Flowering Season June to October
Flower Type Medium sized ray flowers
Flower Colour Blue
Pollination Bees, Self Fertile
Flower Gender lowers are hermaphrodite and the plants are self-fertile
Fruit toothed scales
USDA Zone 3A (-37.3°C to -39.9°C) cold weather limit

No known health risks have been associated with chicory. However ingestion of naturally occurring plants without proper identification is not recommended.

-Click here- or on the thumbnail image to see an artist rendering, from The United States Department of Agriculture, of chicory. (This image will open in a new browser tab)

-Click here- or on the thumbnail image to see a magnified view, from The United States Department of Agriculture, of the seeds created by chicory for propagation. (This image will open in a new browser tab)

Chicory can be referenced in certain current and historical texts under the following twelve names although; the naming synanims of chicory may be valid names for different types of plants and may not be in at all related to chicory:

Chicory can be translated into the following select languages:

Arabic الهندبا البرية Bulgarian цикория Chinese (Sim) 菊苣根
Croatian cikorija Czech cikorka Danish cikorie
Dutch cichorei Esperanto cikorio Estonian sigur
Finnish sikuri French chicorée German Chicoree
Greek ραδίκι Hebrew עולש Hungarian cikória
Italian cicoria Japanese チコリ Korean 치코 리
Low Saxon   Lithuanian cikorija Norwegian sikori
Persian کاسنی تلخ Polish cykoria Portuguese chicória
Romanian cicoare Russian цикорий Slovak čakanka
Spanish achicoria Swedish cikoria Tagalog tsikori
Turkish hindiba Ukrainian цикорій Vietnamese rau diếp xoăn

The information provided in this conservation assessment has been provided by the Natureserve Database in conjunction with various federal, provincial, state, county, district, regional, and municipal governments as well as public and private conservation authorities. Information in this section is accurate from the last time this article was updated.
Chicory has no conservation status as it is considered an exotic and or invasive species in North America.

The MIROFOSS database offers free printable garden tags for personal and non-profit use. These tags can be used to properly identify plant samples in a garden. Click on the tags shown on the the screen or -click here- to download a full size jpeg image for a chicory identification tag; which can be printed on paper or used with a plastic laser printer.

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Description John Cardina, Cathy Herms, Tim Koch, and Ted Webster. "Chickory Cichorium intybus". Ohio Perennial & Biennial Weed Guide. Ohio State University OARDC Extension.
Description Rose, Francis (1981). The Wild Flower Key. Frederick Warne & Co. pp. 390–391. ISBN 0-7232-2419-6.
Folklore Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West, Gregory L. Tilford, ISBN 0-87842-359-1
Biology Madrigal L. Sangronis E. "Inulin and derivates as key ingredients in functional foods.
Biology Elitto, L.; Schacht, W. (1995). Hardy Herbaceous Perennials: A-K ; Vol. 2, L-Z. Timber Press. p. 629. ISBN 978-0-88192-159-5.
Image Rendering USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. Wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Environment National Audubon Society. Field Guide To Wildflowers (Eastern Region): Alfred A. Knopf. pp 415-420 ISBN 0-375-40232-2
Physical Identification National Audubon Society. Field Guide To Wildflowers (Eastern Region): Alfred A. Knopf. pp 415-420 ISBN 0-375-40232-2
April 03, 2015 The last time this page was updated
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